PUTRAJAYA, April 15 – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today received a courtesy call from well-known Islamic preacher from India, Dr Zakir Naik. The 30-minute meeting took place at the deputy prime minister’s office at the Perdana Putra Building here.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, also uploaded pictures of the meeting on his Twitter site. Before the meeting, Dr Zakir had performed the Friday prayers at the Putra Mosque, located just about 200 metres from the Perdana Putra Building. Dr Zakir, who was a Maal Hijrah Awards recipient two years ago, is in Malaysia to give a series of talks, among others in the states of Terengganu and Melaka and Kuala Lumpur. The awards are to recognise Islamic luminaries.
His presence in Malaysia has stirred controversy with certain quarters claiming that he is a threat to the existing multi-racial harmony because his talks touch on the religious sensitivities of others. On Monday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had ordered that his talk titled ‘Similarities Between Hinduism and Islam’, in Melaka this Sunday to be cancelled so as not to affect public order and religious sensitivities.
However, the next day, Ahmad Zahid issued a statement that the government was allowing Dr Zakir to proceed with his lecture at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia (UteM) on Sunday, but the title had to be changed. Dr Zakir, the founder of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and a qualified medical doctor, often gives talks on Islam and its comparisons with other world religions.