In decisive action against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the government is taking steps to ban his NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) under stringent sections of anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Union Home Ministry is preparing a draft cabinet note through which IRF will be declared an ‘unlawful association’ under UAPA. Investigations by the Home Ministry have found that the NGO allegedly has dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel accused of propagating terrorism, a senior Home Ministry official said.
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According to the draft note, which is also based on the inputs from Maharashtra Police, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda. Maharashtra Police has registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, a source said. Investigators have found that in his speeches he has hailed slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Naik 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, sources claimed. Two educational trusts run by Naik have also come under the scanner of the Home Ministry and agencies are looking into their activities.
The draft note will soon be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval, sources said. Naik 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.
Naik in a lecture, aired on Peace TV, had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists”. The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. The Mumbai-based preacher has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light.
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