SEEKING a ‘ban’ on Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik following reports that at least two of the perpetrators of the Dhaka terror attack were inspired by his sermons, South Mumbai Member of Parliament and Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant on Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“This is not the first incident that terrorists have named Zakir Naik for such inspiration. The boys who joined ISIS from India have also made the same statement as that of Bangladesh extremists,” Sawant wrote, seeking an investigation into all activities of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and its affiliated organisations.
Full text of Sawant’s letter
— Arvind Sawant (@AGSawant) July 6, 2016
The IRF is headquartered in Dongri, in Sawant’s constituency.
Sawant has sought that Naik, currently on pilgrimage to the middle east, be prevented from entering India.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said Naik’s speech is “a matter of concern”. Amid reports that the NIA was scanning Naik’s sermons for anything objectionable or inciteful, Rijiju said, “Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken.”
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On Tuesday, following reports that the Dhaka attackers were his followers, Naik told The Indian Express that he condemns the attack. “By using the name Islamic State, we are condemning Islam… They are the anti-Islamic state of Iraq and Syria that has killed innocent foreigners. The name is given by enemies of Islam,” he said.
While Sawant and the Shiv Sena have sought a ban on the medical doctor-turned-evangelist’s channels and on his entry into India, Naik told The Indian Express that he had unequivocally and repeatedly said that terrorism is against the tenets of Islam.
“I have said that the Quran explicitly says in Chapter 5 that when a person kills another human being, of any religion, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity. And when a man protects another from being killed, it is as though he has saved all of humanity… Why does the media give only half of my quote? I have said that for a thief, a policeman is a terrorist. And similarly Muslims should be terrorists against anti-social elements. The media misrepresents what I said, so i stopped saying this at my lectures,” he said.
According to sources in security agencies, the Islamic Research Foundation and its founder have been on the radar of intelligence agencies since 2006.