Indian media drags Dr Zakir Naik into controversy after Dhaka attack
According to NDTV, two of the seven attackers – Nibras Islam and Rohan Imtiaz –of Dhaka bloodbath were followers of Dr Zaki Naik and used to watch his speeches online.
The channel says Dr. Naik is wildly followed Bangladesh and his speeches may have provoked a terror act.
Hindustan Times claims that not only the two attackers were inspired from Dr. Naik’s sermons, but Ayaz Sultan, a leader of the Islamic State (IS) module in Malwani, who reportedly sneaked out of the country to reach Syria, too, was influenced by Naik’s speeches.
It says: “Sultan started to garner radical views during his stint with the Islamic Research Foundation’, founded by Dr. Naik.
While, India.com reported that the deceased attackers identified as Nibras Islam and Rohan Imtiaz were highly inspired by Dr. Naik sermons, speeches and ‘Question & Answer’ sessions.
“His Islamic supremacist style of preaching has a condescending attitude towards other religions, especially paganistic form of practices like Hinduism,” the website writes.
Dr. Zaki Naik calls IS ‘anti-Islamic State’
Contrary to reporting of majority of Indian media accusing the scholar, IndianExpress approached the Islamic preacher for his views on the matter.
“By using the name Islamic State, we are condemning Islam… They are the anti-Islamic state of Iraq and Syria that has killed innocent foreigners. The name is given by enemies of Islam.”
On the Dhaka attackers reportedly being inspired by his preachings, Naik, speaking over the phone from Mecca, said he has 14 million followers on Facebook, besides 200 million viewers of Peace TV in multiple languages, including Urdu, Bengali and Chinese.
“The largest percentage of my Facebook followers are from Bangladesh. Ninety per cent of Bangladeshis would know me, including senior politicians, philanthropists, common men, students and more. Fifty per cent would be my fans. Am I shocked that the attackers knew me? No.”
This, however, does not mean that he endorses their methods, he said. Stating that a lot of people “come close to Islam” because of him, he said such people then listen to other speakers, including some who, in the name of Islam, misguide thousands.
“Such a person would be a hardcore fan of Prophet Muhammad. Does that mean Prophet Muhammad told him to kill people?” Naik asked, adding that the Quran explicitly states that when a person kills another, of any religion, “it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity”.
Regarding calls in various countries to ban him, Naik said some Hindu “fanatics” are behind such calls.