Zakir Naik justifies jihad, Mumbai cops say in their report | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Zakir Naik justifies jihad, Mumbai cops say in their report

Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik and his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) justify terrorism and violence in the name of jihad, says a Mumbai police report, which recommends action against the 50-year-old physician-turned-preacher.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2016 01:13 IST
Zakir Naik
File photo of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) founder Zakir Naik.(HT)


Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik and his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) justify terrorism and violence in the name of jihad, says a Mumbai police report, which recommends action against the 50-year-old physician-turned-preacher.

The report follows the Centre and Maharashtra government’s simultaneous move to bring to book the controversial preacher, who is accused of preaching jihadist ideas through sermons and speeches.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday the report has drawn links between Naik and terrorist outfits such as the Indian Mujahideen and Jamaat-ul-Dawa, the Pakistan-based organisation of 26/11 Mumbai attacks lynchpin Hafiz Saeed.

“Action will be taken in consultation with the ministry of home affairs,” he said.

Naik, who is reportedly hiding in west Asia, is accused of dodging police after allegations that his sermons influenced a terrorist killed in the July 1 Dhaka siege, in which 22 people were gunned down. His aides said the preacher won’t return to India for at least a year because of his engagements abroad.

But Fadnavis warned that the government will press for his extradition if he does not return on his own, reports PTI.

Naik’s IRF has been accused of illegal and anti-national activities.

“The report highlighted the relationship between Naik and Feroz Deshmukh, arrested by the Maharashtra police anti-terrorist squad for his involvement in serial train blasts (in 2006),” the chief minister said.

Mumbai police had put Naik under surveillance after the 2003 serial blasts in the city, but no evidence was found against him.

Indian security agencies rallied to make a strong case against him after Bangladesh banned his Peace TV, saying it incited the attack on the Dhaka café. The Centre has warned cable operators against showing Peace TV.

Intelligence agencies have prepared a list of 65 people arrested since 2005 for suspected terrorism-related activities, who were allegedly influenced by Naik’s sermons.

The Mumbai police report says Naik’s “opinion about other religions is extreme”, and “once his audience gets attracted to Naik, he justifies terrorism and he fans religious sentiments of Muslim youths with the help of his oratory skills”.

His statements are against religious harmony and peaceful coexistence, states the 72-page report.

“Though Naik states that Islam condemns killing of innocent people, he justifies violence in the name of jihad.”

The Centre could ban his foundation under the unlawful activities (prevention) act, which will bar the organisation from taking new members, holding meetings, and collecting donations.

The government is also looking at IRF’s funding. The Union home ministry had asked the foundation to provide details about its foreign contributors.

“If the IRF’s reply is not found satisfactory, we will inspect records of the NGO,” said a ministry official.

The IRF, founded by Naik in 1991, is a registered non-profit public charitable trust, the foundation’s website says.

But the charity faces questions as Kerala police arrested an IRF functionary, Arshi Qureshi, along with associate Rizwan Khan, on the charge of radicalising a Kerala couple. The radicalised couple went to Afghanistan to join the Islamic State terrorist group.