Zakir’s donors being tracked in UK & Saudi

ISLAMIC preacher Zakir Naik’s financers in countries like Saudi Arabia and UK are under the lens and the government is probing whether the funds are being sourced from radical groups. The Ministry of Home Affairs ( MHA) has begun scrutiny of the files related to the foreign funding of Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation ( IRF) amid charges that Naik’s radical views have become an inspiration for terrorists including those who
involved in the attack in a Dhaka restaurant killing 22 people. Back in India, ISIS recruits have revealed that they looked up to Naik and followed the path of jihad after listening to his speeches. Sources said till 2012, his NGO had received about `15 crore in a span for four to five years. The IRF is registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) since it receives foreign funding. “Some of the donors are under scanner and we are investigating whether the funds were used for the purpose stated or diverted to other areas,” said a home ministry official. The government is also closely analysing his speeches that inspired terrorists but some action is expected on the foreign funding aspect, sources said. Videos of his speeches are available in youtube and have become extremely popular with sections of the Muslim community and his CDs are also being circulated world over. An intelligence report has also red flagged the content of his channel Peace TV where his speeches are aired stating that his sermons are dangerous for the security environment of the country. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is also exploring whether any legal action can or a ban can be imposed on his channel Peace TV. Naik, however, had released a statement earlier, saying he totally disagreed that he inspired the act of killing innocent people in Dhaka. “There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged one to kill another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” he had said. Naik, who is reportedly in Saudi Arabia has delayed his return to his hometown Mumbai following the controversy. The Home Ministry is probing whether foreign funding to IRF was used for political activities and provoking people towards terror activities in the name of Islam. All such activities are contrary to FCRA and any violation invites punitive action. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that CDs of Naiks speeches are being examined for necessary action and asserted that the government will not compromise on the issue of terrorism. While New Delhi is still probing the allegations against Zakir Naiik, the Bangladesh government banned the broadcasting of Peace TV on Sunday. The controversy over Zakir Naik also took a political turn as the BJP attacked targeted Congress leader Digvijay Singh for sharing dais with him. Hitting back at BJP Singh raked up the issue of Rajnath Singhs alleged meeting with 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Thakur. He also posed a question to the ruling BJP, wondering what it would say about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sharing the stage with Naik. “I am being criticised for sharing stage with Zakir Naik but what about Rajnath Singh ji meeting bomb blast accused Pragya Thakur?” Singh tweeted.



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