Islamic preacher on govt radar

Islamic preacher on govt radar

Islamic preacher on govt radar

 The Centre on Wednesday indicated that it may take action against Zakir Naik after it emerged that one of the Bangladeshi terrorists involved in the recent Dhaka attack was inspired by the Mumbai-based Islamic preacher.

Amid reports that the Bangladesh government has sought a probe into his possible links with terror, Naik is again under the scanner of security agencies like Mumbai Police, the Maharashtra ATS and the National Investigation Agency.

The renewed focus on Naik comes in the wake of Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star reporting that Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader who was among the five terrorists who targeted a Dhaka restaurant, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting the preacher.

In his lecture aired on Peace TV, Naik had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday, “Zakir Naik’s speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment on what action will be taken.”

 Talking to CNN-IBN News 18,  Naik rubbished reports that his speeches promoted terrorism, saying he welcomed any investigation.

“It is totally illogical to say that I promote terrorism. Not a single investigation agency says Dr Zakir Naik promotes terrorism. The Home Ministry is most welcome to go through my speeches,” Naik said.

“I inspire many people because I have a large following. These people might have been inspired by me but I don’t know them personally. I fear media and politicians because they might malign my image,” he said.

“There are people who are using my photographs and misquoting me to defame me. I welcome any investigation against me," Naik added.

An official in Mumbai said, “We have scanned his speeches at length, seen his videos at length. That was around five years ago. However, we could not find anything at that point in time with the material that was available or what we scanned.”After a row erupted over reports of the Bangladesh terrorist following him, the tele-evangelist was quoted as saying that the Islamic State is “un-Islamic”.

Earlier, too, terror suspects had counted Naik as an inspiration. Najibulla Zazi, who was arrested in 2009 for conspiring to bomb the New York subway, Kafeel Ahmed who stormed the Glasgow airport in an explosives-laden car in 2007, and Mumbai’s Rahil Sheikh who was arrested for 7/11 serial train blasts, had earlier claimed they had followed Naik.

The 50-year-old Naik is trained as a doctor but he became an evangelist and founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in 1991. Naik’s wife Farhat Naik works for the women’s section of IRF. He is among 16 preachers who are banned in Malaysia. He is also banned in the United Kingdom and Canada for his hate speeches. Naik is known for making controversial statements such as that he would not consider Osama bin Laden as a terrorist. He also created a sensation by declaring that “even a fool will know” that the 9/11 attacks were “an inside job” orchestrated by (the then) US President George Bush.

Spotlight on Zakir Naik

In the past 20 years, Naik has delivered over 2,000 public speeches in several countries across the world, including the US, the UK and India.

In one of his lectures aired on Peace TV, Naik had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”. A Bangladeshi terrorist involved in the recent attack in Dhaka claimed Naik’s preaching inspired him.

Minister Kiren Rijiju says the tele-evangelist’s speech is a matter of concern for India.
The preacher is now under the scanner of the Mumbai police, the Maharashtra ATS and the NIA.




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