KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Perlis mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin suggested today a debate between fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik and Penang deputy chief minister II Dr P. Ramasamy.
The mufti said the debate should be titled “Who is the real terrorist?”, and whoever lost the debate “may be sent back to India”.
“This debate must be done publicly and can be watched by every layer of the society. Live broadcast by the media must be given space. Let the public be the witness to this polemic,” said the mufti.
“Based on their urging, then whoever clearly loses can be sent back to India. One of them will return there,” he added.
Ramasamy is a fierce critic of the controversial preacher, and has previously said he welcomes any debate on comparative religion with Dr Zakir.
But despite Asri’s claim, only Dr Zakir is an Indian national, and actually wanted by authorities there. Ramasamy is a Malaysian citizen with no ties to India, and no criminal record.
Asri said today that Ramasamy should accept the challenge, and should he refuse, it is allegedly proof that his enmity is with Muslims.
Asri did not specify the “who” that the debate topic refers to.
Nor did he suggest his own involvement in the debate.
Yesterday, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said the Cabinet has discussed deporting Dr Zakir but decided that the attorney general would only be consulted after India makes a formal request.
The Indian government has confirmed that it formally requested Malaysia last January to extradite Islamic preacher Dr Zakir back to his home country.
The Mumbai-born Islamic televangelist is wanted by the Indian government for alleged money laundering besides links to terrorism.