MUMBAI: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is facing heat over reports that one of the Dhaka attackers was inspired by his speeches, Saturday claimed that no Bangladesh government official had said that he inspired the act of terrorism.
“I spoke to Bangladeshi government people. They told me that they do not believe I inspired this Bangladeshi terrorists to do this act of killing innocent people. That is a different issue that he was my fan,” Naik said.
“There are millions of fans of mine throughout the world. More than 50 per cent Bangladeshis are my fans but to say that I inspired him to kill innocent human beings is devilish,” Naik said in a video released here.
Naik, who is in Saudi Arabia now, said the only country which had banned him from entering was the United Kingdom.
“The only country that I am aware that I was once banned from entering once was the UK. I don’t have any proof that any country has banned me officially. And Malaysia? It is illogical because less than three years back, I got Tokoh Mall Hijrah award and King Faisal International Prize, which is the highest award of Malaysia…,” he said. “In the last 25 years, I was the fourth foreigner to get this award… Can they award a person who promotes terrorism? Indian newspapers picked up Dhaka newspaper report without verifying it,” he added.
A Dhaka report has said Bangladesh government was investigating Naik and examining the possibilities of banning his “provocative” speeches in the wake of two brutal terrorist attacks in the country within a week, in which 25 people died. Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said its intelligence agencies were investigating the Islamic preacher.
“He is on our security scanner… Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative,” Khan said.
Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into the speeches by the 50-year-old Mumbai-based televangelist that has kicked up a storm.
Activities of his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, are also under the scanner of the Union Home Ministry amid allegations that funds from abroad received by it have been spent on political activities and inspiring people towards radical views.