Seems that the troubles of Islamic scholar and televangelist Dr Zakir Naik have just began when the government today decided to declare his NGO the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an outlawed organisation under the anti-terror law for five years for its alleged terror activities.
The decision has been taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Cabinet approved a proposal to declare Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years, a Home Ministry official said.
The Home Ministry will soon issue a formal notification with regard to this effect.
The move comes after investigation by the Home Ministry that found the NGO was allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism, the official said.
As per the findings of the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.
Naik also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes. Most of the programmes, which were made in India, contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV, they claimed.
He came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. Dr. Zakir Naik is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. Naik who is originally from Mumbai have not returned to India eversince he came under the scanner of the Home Ministry.
(With PTI inputs)