Britain has banned controversial Indian Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik, who once claimed that “every Muslim should be a terrorist,” from entering the country, citing his “unacceptable behaviour”.
Mumbai-born Naik is a medical doctor, having attained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Mumbai.
Naik is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) which is a non-profit organisation. It also owns and broadcasts the free-to-air global Peace TV channel.
Home Secretary Theresa May said 44-year-old Naik would not be allowed to enter the country under laws that can exclude anyone who writes or publishes material that can “ferment, justify or glorify terrorist violence”.
Indian television preacher Naik was due to give a series of lectures at arenas in Wembley and Sheffield.
May said the doctor was being excluded because repeated comments attributed to him was evidence of his “unacceptable behaviour”.
She said: “Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right, and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK.” Website footage had shown the preacher making the claim that every Muslim should embrace terrorism. Naik said Muslims should be ware of people saying Osama bin Laden was right or wrong, adding: “If you ask my view, if given the truth, if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him. If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times on the phone, Naik on Friday alleged that the UK government's move was politically motivated.
“Their new government wanted to show the world that they are fighting terrorism, and they needed a scapegoat. They chose me because I have a large following in the UK.”
Naik said his lawyers would be filing a judiciary revision (writ petition) in a UK court on Monday to take the case forward.
In a press statement dated June 11, Naik had rejected as false the allegations made by a section of the UK media.