Bangladesh: Probing Islamist links of Zakir Naik

RSTV Bureau
Courtesy: CC BY-2.0

Courtesy: CC BY-2.0

Days after Maharashtra government initiated probe into the alleged hate speeches of preacher Zakir Naik, Bangladesh has also said it is investigating Islamist links of Naik. This comes in the wake of two brutal terrorist attacks in Bangaldesh that killed 25 people.

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies are investigating the Islamic preacher.

“He is on our security scanner… Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative,” Khan said.

Not just that, Khan said that the investigators were also probing Naik’s financial transactions in Bangladesh.

But the government was yet to decide on banning the broadcast of his channel ‘Peace TV Bangla.’

“Give us some more time for taking a decision in this regard…but I can tell you we have been receiving complaints about the provocative contents of his speeches,” Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said.

Private TV cable operators in Bangladesh remain in confusion as they await a government directive whether or not to broadcast Naik’s television channel.

Naik’s controversial speeches are aired on ‘Peace TV’, which is run by his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. It was reported that his preachings had inspired some of the Dhaka attackers.

For several years Naik has been banned from visiting Britain and Canada. His lectures are also banned by Malaysia as they feared that they could instigate inter-racial tensions.

Experts say Naik cannot be accused of openly inciting terror but agree that his preachings are a heady mix of ingredients which can abet radicalisation of the extreme kinds.

22-year-old Rohan Imtiaz, who was one of the slain attackers of the terrorist attack in Dhaka’s high-security Gulshan area, had quoted Naik in a Facebook post in January this year where he urged “all Muslims to be terrorists.”

In the July 1 attack, 22 people, including 17 foreigners, were killed. Six days later, militants attacked the police guarding the largest Eid gathering in Bangladesh, killing three people.

(With inputs from PTI)