Mumbai (The Hindu): Preacher’s statements about jihad, suicide bombing and other religions highlighted in report
The Mumbai police’s report of their inquiry against controversial preacher Zakir Naik has indicted him of making objectionable and potentially inflammatory statements in several of his sermons.
Senior Mumbai Police officials told The Hindu that Mr. Naik has made numerous statements about other religions as well as about jihadand suicide bombing in his sermons, which have been highlighted in the report.
The police were ordered by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to conduct an inquiry into Dr. Naik’s activities, including the content and nature of his sermons, after which the Special Branch of the Mumbai police initiated one on July 7 this year.
“The inquiry report is based on all of Naik’s material available in the public domain, like CDs of his sermons or videos on the Internet. We scanned through all the sermons, and have found numerous statements he made regarding religions other than Islam that had the potential to disrupt communal harmony,” a senior police officer said.
Slew of FIRs
One of the statements about a Hindu deity Dr. Naik had made led to the filing of an FIR against him with the Kurla police in 2013. Similar FIRs were also filed in police stations in other States by parties who took objection to his statements, and Dr. Naik later moved the Supreme Court seeking that all the FIRs be combined and tried in one court. The apex court is yet to deliver its decision on his plea. The status of the FIRs has also been included in the Mumbai Police’s report, officials said.
The report also mentions the fact that Arshid Qureshi, an employee of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) headed by Dr. Naik, was recently arrested by the Kerala police on allegations of radicalisation and forced conversion. The Maharashtra government will now be discussing the matter with the central government before deciding on the further course of action.
“There are many indictments in the report. Many unlawful activities have been pointed out pertaining to the organisation of which Dr. Naik is the leader. Certain activities are attributed to him as well. The government of Maharashtra is now studying the report. We will soon share the report with the MHA, and in further consultation with them, will decide what action to take,” Mr. Fadnavis said.
The Islamic Research Foundation released a statement saying: “The IRF is not privy to the Police Commissioner’s report but from reports put across in the media, the IRF wants to reiterate that the allegations are false and baseless. Dr. Zakir Naik firmly believes in promoting peace and harmony and has been doing that for decades. Dr. Zakir Naik or the IRF has not received any notice from the MHA or any governmental agency as of now, and hence we are unable to comment on it. The IRF is a research body that promotes greater awareness of Islam and its tenets. Dr. Zakir Naik is an expert in comparative religion and has been conducting well-researched talks on Islam and other religions across the world. Dr. Zakir Naik emphasises on teachings of Islam, which is not unconstitutional and preaching and propagating one’s religion is allowed by article 25 of the Indian Constitution. Conversion is not one of the objectives of the IRF. The organisation only spreads the message of Islam and clears misconceptions. This is fully permitted by our Constitution. The IRF’s Guest Relations Manager, Arshi Qureshi, has never forced a single person into conversion against his or her free will, as it is against Islam. We emphatically deny all allegations”
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