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Zakir Naik charged with radicalising youths

  • Published at 10:35 am October 28th, 2017
Zakir Naik charged with radicalising youths
Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) has charge-sheeted controversial preacher Zakir Naik for heading an unlawful association, and accused him of inciting youth to take up terror acts and join global terror outfits like the Islamic State. Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was earlier banned in 2016 under the UAPA. The IRF, as well as the private firm Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, were named as co-accused for having conspired with Naik to promote enmity and hatred between different religious groups and insulting certain sects of Islam and other religions, reports the Times of India. An NIA statement said Naik had deliberately and maliciously insulted beliefs of Hindus, Christians and certain Muslim sects that did not subscribe to Wahhabism, with the intention to outrage religious feelings. The IRF and Harmony Media were instrumental in the circulation of incriminating speeches in the form of CDs, DVDs and TV programmes. Naik, according to the charge-sheet, had delivered over 1,500 public lectures in India and abroad since 1994. He had stated in question and answer sessions that Islam was the true religion and that only Quran was in the original form among all religious books, the NIA statement said. Naik has also publicly claimed that all other messengers preached Islam and criticised religious practices of by followers of other religion as well as non-Wahhabi Islamic sects, the NIA said. According to the charge sheet, a witness named Nur Mohammad told the NIA that he was influenced by Naik’s lecture at “peace conferences” organised by the IRF between 2007 and 2008. Nur was on his way to Syria to join the IS but later abandoned the plan, TOI added quoting NIA sources. The NIA cited another similar case that is of Arshi Asif Qureshi, an associate of Naik and an IRF employee. In July, 2016, Qureshi was arrested in a case filed in Kerala, on charges of forcibly converting two individuals to Islam and recruiting them for the IS. Qureshi is also charge-sheeted in a NIA case filed in Mumbai. The third case relates to Abu Anas, a charge-sheeted accused in a 2015 “IS conspiracy case” investigated by the NIA. Anas received a scholarship of Rs1.5 lakh from IRF in installments between 2013 and 2015. As per the charge-sheet filed in the case, he was part of a conspiracy by the IS-affiliated Junood-ul-Khilafa-fil-Hind to recruit Muslims from India to work for the terror outfit. The charge-sheet further claimed that Naik was not considered an Islamic scholar, although he had memorised the Quran and Hadith. His knowledge of Islam is very poor.