Zakir Naik, a fugitive Islamic preacher, recently returned to Malaysia from Oman after completing his programmes there. In videos that have surfaced on social media, he claimed that Hindus in India ‘love him’ and follow his religious sermons. He also converted a Hindu woman to Islam during this event.
Zakir Naik has been on the radar of Indian security agencies for his communal activities and has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967 for terror financing, inciting communal hatred and money laundering.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry has stated that it will take all the necessary steps to bring the fugitive Naik back to India and bring him to face justice. The Islamic bigoted preacher has been accused of using funds from Gulf countries to spread Islamic propaganda and forceful conversion.
Zakir Naik is the controversial Islamic preacher who has been banned in several countries and is currently in hiding in Malaysia as India seeks his extradition. He gained notoriety when it was reported that the perpetrators of the Dhaka terror attack were inspired by his teachings.
Zakir Naik had always been infamous for his vile remarks and radicalising young minds. In 1991, he established the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in Mumbai to spread the word of Islam. He began giving public talks on Islam and comparative religion in 1993, and by 1994, he had started hosting a weekly religious program called “Peace TV,” which was broadcast in several countries.
Cut to 2016, he fled India and moved to Malaysia where he reportedly obtained permanent residency. The Indian government declared his Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association in 2021. Naik’s Peace TV network is also banned in Bangladesh, Canada, Sri Lanka, and the UK.
He has claimed that a majority of Hindus in India love him and this creates a problem for the vote bank, and that he has a large following in India, including non-Muslims in Bihar and Kishanganj. However, his comments have been met with controversy and criticism.
In 2019, he was banned from delivering public speeches in Malaysia. In 2022, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) arrested 127 terrorists with links to ISIS who were reportedly inspired by Naik’s speeches.
Also read: Finally, the fugitive Zakir Naik is being brought to task
Zakir Naik left India in 2016 amid charges of spreading hatred and money laundering. The same year, India’s counterterrorism agency filed a complaint against him, accusing him of promoting religious hatred and other unlawful activities.
Zakir Naik has been granted refuge in Malaysia since 2018 because the Malaysian government had previously welcomed him and allowed him to set up a base there for his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) organization.
However, his presence in Malaysia has been controversial, with many human rights groups and activists calling for his deportation due to his involvement in promoting religious extremism and hate speech.
On strong protest by the Hindus and Christians living in Malaysia, the same Malaysian government that was once fostering this Jihadi monster started imposing restrictions on him. He has been banned from speaking in public and giving public lectures.
The former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, earlier stated that no country in the world is ready to give refuge to this Jihadi man and virtual institute of terrorism. Mahathir had claimed that Naik “would not be safe from the Indian republic” and expressed that Malaysia wants to throw out Naik from their country, however, to a place where he would be safe.
Also read: Malaysia-based Rohingya terror group, with links to Zakir Naik is planning a terror attack on a major Indian city
Followers and Following
His passion and dedication to spreading the message of Islam did not go unnoticed, and in 2002, he was given the King Faisal International Prize for his services to Islam.
However, as time went by, Zakir Naik’s beliefs and fanatic teachings began to raise concerns among various groups. In 2010, he was listed as a speaker in a conference organized by the banned Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Pakistan, and in 2012, he was denied entry to the UK after the Home Secretary expressed concerns about his preaching.
In 2016, things escalated further. The Bangladeshi government banned Zakir Naik’s Peace TV channel after reports that his speeches had influenced the attackers of the Dhaka café terror attack. Later that year, the Indian government banned the IRF and declared Zakir Naik an “unlawful” preacher, accusing him of promoting terrorism and hate speech.
By 2017, Zakir Naik had fled to Malaysia, where he had secured permanent residency. However, his presence in Malaysia soon came under scrutiny from various groups, including Malaysian Hindu and Christian groups. In response, his Malaysian permanent residency status was revoked in 2017.
Also read: Zakir Naik is radicalising Indian Muslim youth and Modi govt is all set to crackdown on his propaganda
Extradition to India
Things went from bad to worse for Zakir Naik in 2020 when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India filed a charge sheet against him, accusing him of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities. And in 2021, his Malaysian citizenship application was rejected, and he was banned from entering the country.
In November 2022, reports surfaced that Qatar had invited Naik to attend the FIFA World Cup, but the country denied these claims and said no such invitation had been extended to him. Naik remains a fugitive and his activities continue to be closely monitored by authorities in India and other countries.
Also read: ‘Indian Muslims should commit Hijira, move to Communist Kerala,’ Zakir Naik fresh sermon praising Kerala
Controversy in other countries
Naik has also faced backlash from other countries, with the UK, Bangladesh, and Malaysia all taking measures to ban his entry or the broadcasting of his programs. In 2021, Naik’s Malaysian citizenship application was rejected, and he was banned from entering the country.
It appears that the matter has now been taken up with the government of Oman, as Naik is a fugitive from justice and wanted in India for numerous cases. Supporting Zakir Naik solely because he is Muslim can have serious repercussions. Muslims all over the world experience isolation and discrimination from others, which could harm Islam’s reputation and relationships with other communities.
Furthermore, supporting Zakir Naik and his vile sermons create communal atmosphere, fueling negativity and intolerance among Muslims. In the long term, this has caused division and conflict among Muslims. As a result, it is critical to hold every wrongdoings accountable, regardless of the person’s background, in order to guarantee the safety and harmony of Muslims as a whole.
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