Did Zakir Naik inspire Dhaka attackers? Islamic preacher in denial; Bangladesh looking into complaints against him
Militants had stormed a popular restaurant (Holey Artisan Bakery) in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave late on Friday and killed 22 people.
Delhi: Even as Zakir Naik on Wednesday rubbished reports that his speeches promoted terrorism and welcomed any investigation against him, Bangladesh said that they were looking into complaints regarding controversial Indian Islamic preacher.
Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said that there were certain complaints from the Maulanas of Bangladesh that his speeches were not in line with the Quranic teachings and Hadith.
"Already there are certain complaints from the Maulanas of Bangladesh that his (Naik's) teachings are not in line with the Quranic teachings and Hadith," Inu said.
"How much Naik's teachings influenced the terrorists that is to be investigated. We are investigating the whole matter," he added.
Requesting the Indian government to examine the teachings of the preacher, Inu said, "I also request the Indian government and information minister that they also examine the context of Naik's teachings," as per PTI.
Militants had stormed a popular restaurant (Holey Artisan Bakery) in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave late on Friday and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US in an attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
Did Naik inspire militants involved in the Dhaka carnage?
Naik's 'hate speech' is reported to have inspired at least one of the five Bangladeshi militants involved in the Dhaka carnage.
One of the Bangladeshi attackers, suspected to be Rohan Imtiaz - the son of a politician of Bangladesh's ruling Awami League - ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting 50-year-old Naik, Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star reported.
Naik, a Mumbai-based doctor and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, in his lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly "urged all Muslims to be terrorists".
He is hugely popular in Bangladesh through his channel, the report said.
Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for his 'hate speech' aimed at other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
Naik denies allegations
Meanwhile, Naik said his speeches on Islam and terrorism were being taken out of context and his name was being misused by some people.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Naik said that his speeches inspire people and bring them closer to Islam. He added that those who kill people “will go to hell" whether they are "Muslim or non-Muslim”.
At the same time, the Islamic scholar maintained that he had never exhorted Muslims to become terrorists. “I only said all Muslims should be terrorists to anti-social elements," he told the news channel.
Saying he had been misquoted, Naik said no Muslim should ever terrorise any innocent human being.
He further said all kinds of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, are “100% wrong”, adding Muslims have been the target of such attacks around the world.
Moreover, Naik further denied calling former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden a 'saint'.
“I have neither called Osama a terrorist nor have I called him a saint. The video of my speech on Osama in Singapore is doctored,” he said.
Indian government to take appropriate action against Zakir Naik, says Rijiju
Reacting to the reports, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters in Delhi that the matter was of concern for the government.
"Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken," he said. Rijiju added that India had good relations and mutual understanding with Bangladesh, especially in the matter of co-operation on fighting terrorism.
On the other hand, the new Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, when asked about Naik's speeches said, "We have time to study all these aspects. Terror can be defeated only through close coordination and by fighting together (against it).
(With Agency inputs)