Following the steps taken by India and Bangladesh against controversial preacher Zakir Naik, cable operators in Sri Lanka have also reportedly blocked Zakir Naik’s Peace TV. These steps come in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka in which more than 250 innocent citizens had lost their lives. The attacks in Sri Lanka that took place on Easter Sunday also witnessed the death of 30 foreigners.
As per reports, two of the largest cable operators of the country, “Dialogue” and “LT” had stopped airing Zakir Naik’s Peace TV. However, an official announcement regarding the development is yet to be made.
After ISIS had claimed the responsibility for the deadly attacks, the involvement of the local jihadi outfit National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) was found instrumental in the bombings.
The controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik has been under sharp criticism for his speeches which have been instrumental in radicalizing the youth. He is also wanted for money laundering, hate speech and other offenses in India and abetment of terrorism in Bangladesh.
Zakir Naik had fled India following the 2016 terrorist attacks in Bangladesh after it had surfaced that the attackers were admirers of Zakir Naik, the two terrorists involved in an attack on a Bangladesh cafe claimed to have been radicalized by Naik’s literature and teachings. The central government had also banned Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) for five years. Zakir Naik currently resides in Malaysia where he has also been granted permanent residence. However, voices in Malaysia have also questioned his presence in the nation. Recently Malaysian activist Farouk A. Peru has started a petition urging Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to act on fundamentalist Muslim preachers and evict Indian preacher Zakir Naik from the country.
Interpol, taking note of India’s concerns has also agreed to assess the demands of Indian agencies in issuing a red-corner notice against radical Islamist preacher Zakir Naik. A team from Interpol will visit New Delhi as part of its investigation into the matter. MHA is also expected to give a dossier on Zakir Naik to the Interpol.
In recent raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kasaragod, Kerala, a number of digital devices including mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, pen drives, diaries with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam, DVDs of Dr. Zakir Naik besides untitled DVDs, CDs with religious speeches, books of Dr. Zakir Naik and Syed Kutheb have been seized from their residences. An ISIS suspect, identified as 29-year-old Riyas Aboobacker alias Abu Dujana, a resident of Kerala’s Palakkad, was also arrested by the NIA and has purportedly revealed to the probe officials that he had been following speeches and videos of Zakir Naik, and the alleged mastermind of Sri Lanka blasts Zahran Hashim.
Recently, a man identified as Mohammad Zamri Vinoth, an associate of controversial preacher Zakir Naik, was also arrested in Indonesia following several reports lodged against him for insulting Hinduism.
“According to the complainants, the man, via a 70-second video clip posted on social media, had uttered blasphemous statements against Hinduism that can cause disharmony and it is also against the law,” said an Indonesian police official.
Peace TV, which is run by Zakir Naik, is already banned in countries like Bangladesh and the UK. The controversial televangelist came into limelight when the perpetrators of Dhaka terror attack were said to be inspired by his so-called teachings telecasted through Peace TV.
Shielded by terrorist apologists, preachers like Zakir Naik have been perpetually preaching hate in the garb of religion. Many of his supporters claim that Zakir has not been involved personally in any terror activities however hard questions over his preaching’s which are clearly instrumental in radicalizing youth to take up arms in the name of ‘jihad’, still remain unanswered. Zakir Naik is only the tip of the iceberg, which got the spotlight, however, it is widely believed that presence of many more radical elements, preaching hate in the garb of religion, in a much more covert manner has been plaguing the minds of gullible youth, away from the spotlight and criticism.