THE CENTRE on Tuesday outlawed Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), the NGO promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, after declaring it an “unlawful” organisation under an anti-terror law. The organisation has been outlawed by the Union Home Ministry for five years for activities allegedly related to terror. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Cabinet approved a proposal to declare IRF as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years, a Home Ministry official said. The ministry will soon issue a formal notification, it was informed.
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“Law enforcement agencies will maintain strict surveillance of the activities of all establishments of the Foundation,” a senior government official said.
The move comes after investigation by the Home Ministry found that the NGO allegedly had dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism, the official said. According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads 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 is also alleged to have 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, officials claimed.
An educational trust run by Naik has already been prevented from receiving foreign funds and agencies are looking into their activities. 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. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. Naik is popular in Bangladesh through his speeches beamed on Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher, who is abroad, has not returned to India ever since the controversy began.