Exclusive | Zakir Naik’s foundation converted many to Islam: Police
The special branch of the Mumbai police claims that controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his non-profit, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), have illegally converted around 800 people to Islam, allegedly using funds from abroad. The allegation, if proved, could spell further trouble for Naik.india Updated: Jul 26, 2016 01:54 IST
The special branch of the Mumbai Police claims that controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his non-profit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) have illegally converted around 800 people to Islam by paying them using funds received from abroad. The allegation, if proved, could spell more trouble for Naik, who is being investigated for his fiery speeches and alleged extremist links.
The police learnt about this after the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and Kerala Police arrested Arshid Qureshi, a guest representative officer of IRF, from his house at Seawoods in Navi Mumbai on Thursday. A day later, the same team arrested Kalyan resident Rizwan Khan, who allegedly played a crucial role in the conversions and weddings.
Both Arshid and Rizwan were taken to Kochi on a transit remand as they were named in an FIR registered at Palarivottam police station in Kochi against Bestin Vincent, alias Yahya, a Christian from Palakkad who converted to Islam and is believed to have joined the Islamic State. Bestin and his wife Merin Jacob, alias Mariyam, have been missing for some time. The FIR is based on a complaint registered by Merin’s brother Ebin Jacob.
- TV evangelist Zakir Naik’s speeches are aired mainly on English TV channels and Peace TV, which he started in 2006
- He launched Peace TV Urdu in 2009, Peace TV Bangla in April 2011, and plans to have the channel in 10 major languages across the world
- His speeches allegedly influenced a number of terrorists, including two of the six attackers who killed 20 people in an upscale café in Bangladesh capital Dhaka
- Naik had been on the police’s radar well before the Dhaka attack and was questioned by ATS in 2006, after the police found that a suspect in the July 11 train bombings was an employee at his Dongri office