Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher from India, and Mehdi Masroor Biswas, were reportedly two of those followed by at least two of the five terrorists who killed 20 people in Dhaka’s Holey Artisan restaurant in upscale Gulshan neighbourhood in the July 1-2 attack.
According to Bangladeshi daily, The Daily Star, two of the terrorists including son of an Awami League leader Rohan Imtiaz followed Naik on Facebook and shared videos of his hate-filled preaching from Peace TV on the social networking site.
Zakir Naik is very popular in Bangladesh.He inspires many young Muslims to become fundamentalists.Some Dhaka terrorists were inspired by him
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) July 5, 2016
Banned in Malaysia, Canada and UK, Naik is immensely popular in an economically backward and increasingly fundamentalist Bangladesh. He is the founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation.
In many of his videos, Naik preaches hate for other religions including other Muslim sects often to loud cheers of those in the audiences.
The Daily Star reports that Nibras Islam, the 22-year-old Dhaka attacker, followed Islamic State sympathiser Mehdi Masroor Biswas.
Biswas, a techie, was arrested in India by the police in December 2014 from Bengaluru. He is accused of posting pro-IS tweets from the handle Shami Witness – an account that was so popular among the IS that two-thirds of the barbarians followed it.
Another radical preacher that the terrorists followed was Anjem Choudary, a British citizen facing trial in England for breaking UK’s anti-terrorism law.
Choudary is a known Islamic State sympathizer and has often called on British Muslims to go and fight with the regime in Syria and Iraq.
Daily Star writes that both Rohan and Nibras had been radicalised over a period of one or two years.