Maharashtra govt probing Zakir Naik's alleged `hate speeches'

08 July 2016

The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's speeches that were reported to have inspired some of the Dhaka, even as the central government asked intelligence agencies to track the tele-evangelist's alleged hate speeches.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the Mumbai Police to initiate an inquiry into the Islamic preacher's public documents. The state government also deployed cops outside the Mumbai office of the Islamic Research Foundation, a foundation run by him.

"I have asked the Mumbai Police Commissioner to conduct a probe (into Naik's speeches) and submit a report," chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday."Everything, including Naik's speeches, his social media accounts, sources of funding (the foundation run by him in Mumbai) will be scrutinised, he added.

Earlier in the day, the centre had called his speeches ''highly objectionable'' and hinted at ''appropriate action'' against him after reports said Naik's ''hate speech'' has inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militant attackers.

"The home ministry will study (his speeches). It will take appropriate action after studying them. His speeches, as being reported in the media, are highly objectionable," information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Delhi.

Naik, on Wednesday, had asserted that his speech on Islam and terror has been taken out of context and claimed that he had only said Muslims should terrorise anti-social elements.

Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' had reported that militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.

Naik, in his lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly "urged all Muslims to be terrorists".

The controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation is banned in the UK and Canada for his 'hate speech' aimed at other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.

He is known in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects, the report said.

Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju had on Wednesday told reporters in Delhi that, "Zakir Naik's speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken."

''If we have a request from Dhaka to ban Zakir Naik, we will seriously consider it,'' Rijiju told online news portal bdnews24.

He said the ministry of home affairs is planning to review all televangelism to ensure that none ventures into extremism.

''We need to guard against them and close them down if necessary,'' he added.

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