Islamic preacher Zakir Naik Saturday wrote an open letter to Indians where he claimed that action against him was a concerted attack on the Muslim community and banning the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) would be the biggest jolt to Indian democracy.
“Let’s not be gullible to assume there isn’t a deeper agenda behind this vicious campaign. This is not just an attack on me, it’s an attack against Indian Muslims,” Naik said in the letter.
Naik said a ban on IRF was imminent. “If IRF and I are banned, it will be the biggest jolt to the country’s democracy in recent times. I do not say this just for me but because this ban will set a precedence of unspeakable injustices against the 20 crore Muslims of India. This action will embolden and encourage every fringe element in the country to do as they please,” the letter states.
He claimed that the Muslim population was feeling insecure.“Muslims are bound to think that today it is Zakir Naik, tomorrow it could be any one of them.”
He said that an attempt was being made to demonize the Muslim community. “I realized some time back that if you’ve decided to target a community, you’ve to first target the biggest name…If you can bring down and demonize this figure, the rest becomes a cakewalk,” the letter states.
He alleged that there was a concerted effort by the government and the media to target him. “Despite exhaustive investigations, not a single conclusive evidence of wrongdoing was reported by any governmental agency. But now, investigations are being asked to be repeated and continued. Why? Wasn’t the first investigation exhaustive enough?… Or is it because they could not find any wrongdoing?” he wrote.
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He questioned the government’s move of renewing IRF’s FCRA registration and then cancelling it. “Why would you suspend FCRA officials? Is it because they did things by the book and acted honestly without any bias… Is it because they were not influenced by political agenda of the MHA?” the letter states.
He states he never indulged in forced conversion. He challenged the state to produce people who claimed to have been forced to convert. “Why are the agencies ignoring the most basic proof of forced conversions? Where is the converted person and where is his or her statement about how he or she was forcibly converted? Isn’t this person the most basic proof of forced conversion?”