Dhaka killers followed Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik has often courted controversy over his discourses where he derides other religions while highlighting the virtues of Islam.

Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 08:47 AM IST
Dhaka killers followed Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

New Delhi: Among the seven Bangladeshi terrorists who brutally hacked innocents in a Dhaka café were two young men who followed controversial Mumbai-based preacher Zakir Naik and Bengaluru-based Islamic State propagandist Mehdi Masroor Biswas.

Terrorist Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV’s controversial preacher Naik “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”, the Daily Star reported.

Founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, Zakir Naik, has often courted controversy over his discourses where he derides other religions while highlighting the virtues of Islam.

50-year-old Naik, a doctor, had refused to describe Osama bin Laden as a terrorist. The United Kingdom, Malaysia and Canada has banned him from entering their territory.

In 2010, while answering a question about why he was banned from entering Britain, Naik had said it was because he exhorts all Muslims to be terrorists.

"I tell Muslims that every Muslim should be a terrorist. Terrorist means a person who terrorises. When a robber sees a policeman, he is terrified. So for a robber, a policeman is a terrorist. So in this context every Muslim should be a terrorist to the robber," Naik had said.

However, Naik, through his Peace TV, is very popular in many parts of the world and is said to have a big following in Bangladesh as well.

Another Dhaka attacker Nibras Islam, 22, used to follow two alleged suspected recruiters of Islamic State – Anjem Choudary and Shami Witness – on Twitter in 2014. Shami Witness is the Twitter account of 24-year-old Mehdi Biswas, who is also facing trial in India for running propaganda for the Islamic State. He was arrested in December 2014 following an investigation into his Twitter account which was last active in August 2014.

Biswas was charged for operating the “single most influential pro-ISIS Twitter account”. 49-year-old Choudary, a Pakistan-origin British citizen is now facing trial in England for breaking the British anti-terrorism law. His twitter account became inactive from August 2015 after terror charges were brought against him.

Choudary allegedly told his supporters to travel to territory controlled by the “barbaric regime” in Syria and Iraq. “This means at least in the case Nibras and Rohan, they did not become radicalised overnight. They have been consuming radical materials for one to two years before finally disappearing in February-March and reappearing as ‘IS killers’ Friday night at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan,” the paper said.

From their pictures posted by the ISIS media and recirculated by the SITE Intelligence Group, it can be assumed that these young men received arms training after their disappearance specifically to carry out the mission on June 1.

“Their attire with IS logo in their backdrop, the automatic rifles held in their hands reveal they underwent an organised training which is far from anything amateurish. That the killers released some of the hostages 15 minutes before the army-led operation on Saturday morning also showed the depth of their brains being washed—that they were ready to die,” the paper added.

20 people were hacked to death by the Dhaka terrorists in cold blood on Friday evening.

With PTI inputs