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Govt probing funding of NGO run by preacher Zakir Naik

New Delhi, Jul 8, 2106 (PTI) 18:50 IST
Mumbai-based Naik has come under the scanner after it was reported that his speeches have inspired some of the Dhaka cafe attackers. Maharashtra government yesterday ordered a probe into the speeches by the Muslim televangelist. File Photo
NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), set up by preacher Zakir Naik, has come under the scanner of the Home Ministry, amidst allegations that funds from abroad received by it have been spent on political activities and inspiring people towards radical views.

A senior Home Ministry official said an investigation has been ordered into the activities of IRF, which was registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Mumbai-based Naik has come under the scanner after it was reported that his speeches have inspired some of the Dhaka cafe attackers. Maharashtra government yesterday ordered a probe into the speeches by the Muslim televangelist.

The Home Ministry probe will cover the allegations that foreign funding to IRF was used in political activities and allegations that the NGO's funds were used to induce people towards Islam and "attracting" youths towards terror, the official said.

All such activities are contrary to the FCRA provisions and any violation invites punitive action. IRF's source of foreign funding will also be examined thoroughly by the Home Ministry, the official said.

An online petition has been filed with the Home Ministry listing all the allegations against IRF as well as its chief Zakir Naik.

Officials said according to an intelligence report the content of the "Peace TV", in which Naik regularly appears and gives sermons, is "not conducive" to the security environment in the country and poses "security hazard".

Earlier, the Home Minister saidCDs of his speeches are being examined fornecessary action and asserted that the government will not compromise on the issue of terrorism.

Naik, however, had released a statement, saying he "totally disagreed" that he inspired the act of killing innocent people in Dhaka. "There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged one to kill another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim," he said.

New Information and Broadcasting Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, had called Naik's speeches, as being reported in the media, as highly objectionable.

Naik's speeches are believed to have inspired some of the Bangladeshi militants, who killed 22 people, mostly foreigners, at an upscale restaurant in Dhaka last Friday.

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