Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant on Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, 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. The South Mumbai MP also sought a ban on the tele-evangelist’s private television channels.
“This is not the first incident that terrorists have named Zakir Naik for inspiration. The boys who joined the ISIS from India have also made the same statement…,” wrote Sawant, seeking an investigation into all activities of the Islamic Research Foundation and its affiliated organisations. The IRF is headquartered in Dongri, in Sawant’s constituency.
Full text of Sawant’s letter
— Arvind Sawant (@AGSawant) July 6, 2016
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 doctor-turned-evangelist’s channels and on his entry into India, Naik told The Indian Express that he had unequivocally and repeatedly said terrorism was 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.
The IRF and its founder have been on the radar of intelligence agencies since 2006.