The government of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is investigating a school in Aligarh for projecting preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik as an Islamic hero. The administration has issued a show cause notice to the institute for portraying Naik as “an important Islamic personality” in a textbook published for Class 5, The Times of India reported.
The textbook “Ilm-un-Nafe” is not part of the syllabus of the Islamic Mission School in Aligarh’s Masud Nagar. Naik features among nine personalities from the Muslim community on page 42 of the book, the Hindustan Times reported.
Kunen Kausar, the school manager and the author of the book, said there were no cases against Naik when the book was published two years ago. “The chapter on him will be removed in the fresh book issued for the next session,” he told the Hindustan Times.
Agencies have been investigating Naik since allegations emerged that he inspired one of the militants behind the Holey Artisan attack on July 1, 2016 in Dhaka. The Indian government banned his Mumbai-based NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation, in November 2016 for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The National Investigation Agency is also investigating Naik for allegedly inciting the youth to take up terrorism and hate speech.
A three-member panel will look into the case of the textbook, said Dhirendra Kumar Yadav of the Basic Siksha Adhikari of Aligarh. “The committee has a week’s time to submit its report,” he told The Times of India. “The process of cancelling the recognition of the school will be initiated after receiving the report.”