Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has termed the move to ban his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a tactic by the government to divert the media’s attention from the debate surrounding demonetisation.
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“The decision to ban IRF was taken in the middle of the demonetisation fiasco, as the country reeled under the self-imposed cash crunch. I won’t be surprised if this ban was meant to distract media from what was going on in the country,” the controversial Salafist preacher said in a three-page open letter released on Friday, which he said was meant for India.
Naik also alleged that the ban is being used by the Centre to scare Indian Muslims.
“Despite some saying that I played the ‘Muslim card’, it is now proven that the decision to ban IRF was taken months ago and it was a communal decision,” he said.
Naik said the Modi government was misusing the law to scare Indian Muslims. “Let us not be gullible to think this was just an attack on me. It is an attack on whom I represent, the Indian Muslims,” the letter stated.
Naik said that he will take a legal recourse against the ban. “Not a single time was I questioned or given a chance to explain. Not a single chance. No notice, no summons, no calls and no contact ever made with me to get my side of the story. I kept offering my help in investigation but it wasn’t taken. The entire investigation was completed without any agency asking me a single question about my so called ‘wrongdoings’,” he said.
The IRF founder said he had no choice but to answer the state and its agencies only through the legal system and not personally. “Many Muslim countries will roll the red carpet for me. I have received from several Muslim countries a response better than what I had expected,” Naik claimed.