Dhaka bans Zakir Naik's Peace TV in crackdown

Dhaka bans Zakir Naik's Peace TV in crackdown

Action in wake of preacher's 'provocative speeches'

Dhaka bans Zakir Naik's Peace TV in crackdown

Bangladesh on Sunday banned controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace TV, cracking down on the channel and radical sermons.

The action was taken in wake of reports that “provocative” speeches inspired some of the militants who carried out the country’s worst terror attack at a cafe here recently.

The decision to ban the Mumbai-based preacher’s ‘Peace TV Bangla’ was taken during a special meeting of Cabinet committee on Law and Order, Industry Minister Amir Hossain Amu, who chaired the meeting, said.

In the meeting, attended by senior ministers and top security officials, it was also decided to monitor the sermons given during the Friday prayers to check whether any provocative lectures are delivered, Amu told reporters.

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 on July 1.

The government also appealed to the Imams in the country to deliver lectures in line with real Islamic ideology of denouncing terrorism and extremism, the minister said.

Besides senior ministers, the meeting was attended by chief of police and head of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), paramilitary border guards and top officials of different security agencies.

Deployment of additional security forces at export processing zone was also ordered.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had on Saturday said that Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies were investigating 50-year-old Naik’s possible role in the attack.

“He is on our security scanner... Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative,” Khan had told PTI. He said the investigators were also probing Naik’s financial transactions in Bangladesh.

One of the slain attackers of the terrorist attack in Dhaka’s high-security Gulshan area, 22-year-old Rohan Imtiaz quoted Naik in a Facebook post in January this year where he urged “all Muslims to be terrorists”.

Twenty two people were killed in the brutal late-night attack. Six days later, militants attacked police guarding the largest Eid gathering in Bangladesh and killed three more people.

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