Zakir Naik, controversial Islamic preacher, is under scanner for inciting religious intolerance and violent extremism through his preachings.
Zakir Naik, controversial Islamic preacher, is under scanner for inciting religious intolerance and violent extremism through his preachings. The doctor-turned televangelist is facing heat in India and Bangladesh after it emerged that Naik’s speeches guided some of the militants who stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic area on July 1, triggering to a hostage-situation that led to the killing of 22 people.
Naik, 51, who founded the Islamic Research Foundation in 1991 lectures around how Islam is superior to all other faiths. While he claims to be an advocate of interfaith dialogue, his preaching’s reinforce all the stereotypes which exist against Muslims. We take a look at 10 latest developments on the Zakir Naik controversy:
1. Naik, who was expected back here today from Saudi Arabia, is unlikely to return to the country for another two to three weeks as he is planning to visit some African countries for public speeches.
2. Amid the expanding footprint of ISIS across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that “preachers of hate and violence” are threatening the fabric of the society and asked the youth to build a counter narrative to extremist ideologies.
3. Venkaiah Naidu said the Information & Broadcasting ministry has written to all state governments, district magistrates and police stations to be alert and proactively curb the spread of extremism. He said banning of ‘Peace TV’ does not arise in India as the channel has not been granted permission to telecast its content in India.
4. Shiv Sena demanded that Naik be arrested the moment he returns to India from Saudi Arabia and his “Peace TV” network dismantled. The NDA ally also likened Zakir Naik’s “social work” to the activities of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. Sena also asked the government to block his social media websites with immediate effect as it might disturb the law and order situation in the country.
5. Bangladesh cancelled downlink permission for Naik’s ‘Peace TV’, a day after it banned the channel over reports that his “provocative” speeches encouraged some of the militants to unleash the worst terror attack in the Muslim-majority nation.
6. Samajwadi Party Maharashtra unit President Abu Azmi came in support of Naik and sought to know why action has not been taken for the last 25 years if his speeches are inspiring terrorists, and called for a fair inquiry into charges against him. Azmi called for an inquiry by a non-muslim judge like Justice Srikrishna, Rajindar Sachar or another retired judge of the Supreme Court.
7. Government of India has said “appropriate” action will be taken against Naik, while the Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into his speeches that reportedly inspired the militants, and also into the sources of funding of his NGOs. Naik’s financial transactions are also under the scanner.
8. Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Idris Ali said banning controversial preacher Zakir Naik would not have any impact as he would receive more publicity post that. Following his statement, the party cautioned him and indicated that he might be served a showcause notice.
9. Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband objected to media citing its fatwas against Zakir Naik and linking them to the allegations against the Islamic preacher that his speeches had incited terrorists involved in Dhaka cafe attack.
10. Mocking the former UPA regime for not responding to reports submitted by former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Sinha on Zakir Naik, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Rakesh Sinha said the Congress leadership had then only one agenda which was to coin the term Hindu terror.
(With inputs from Agencies)