Controversial preacher Zakir Naik deliberately insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and Islamic sects like Shia, Sufi and Barelvi, and his speeches influenced recruits to the cause of the so-called Islamic State, the National Investigation Agency has said.
The agency has chargesheeted the “televangelist” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for heading an ‘unlawful association’ and accused him of inciting youth to take up terror acts and join global terror outfits like Islamic State.
Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), banned in 2016 under the UAPA, as well as private firm Harmony Media Pvt Ltd were named as co-accused for having conspired with Naik to promote enmity and hatred between different religious groups and insulting certain sects of Islam and other religions .
Naik had “deliberately” and “maliciously” insulted beliefs of Hindus, Christians and certain Muslim sects that did not subscribe to Wahhabism, with the intention to outrage religious feelings, and IRF and Harmony Media were instrumental in the circulation of incriminating speeches in the form of CDs/DVDs/TV programmes, the NIA said.
Naik, the chargesheet added, had delivered over 1,500 public lectures/talks in India and abroad since 1994. “In these lectures/QA sessions, Naik states that only Islam is the true religion. He also says that among the religious books of all religions, only Quran is in original form, all other religious texts have been corrupted. He publicly claims that all the other messengers, including Moses, Jesus as well as Sri Krishna, preached Islam. He criticises religious practices observed by other religions as well as non-Wahhabi Islamic sects such as Shias, Sufis and Barelvis, and terms them un-Islamic,” the NIA said.
According to the chargesheet accessed by TOI, a witness, Noor Mohammad, who was on his way to Syria to join the IS but later aborted the plan, told the NIA that he was influenced by Naik’s oratory at ‘peace conferences’ organised by IRF in 2007 and 2008. Later on, he was motivated by an accused in the Malad-Malwani IS module case, Mohsin Sayyed, who quoted Naik as saying that suicide bombing was permissible in Islam. “Since he considered A-1 (Naik) an authority over Islamic viewpoint, he readily agreed to join the IS to fight jihad for them,” the chargesheet said.
The NIA said, on a number of occasions, Naik’s public speeches “led to communal tension… creating serious law and order situations”. The chargesheet claimed “Naik was not considered an Islamic scholar, although he had memorised the Quran and Hadith”. “His knowledge of Islam was very poor,” it added.