Controversial Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik has always been in the limelight for wrong reasons. In July his passport was revoked by the Indian government after his consistent failure to be present before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged terror-funding cases. Now, contesting NIA’s request to Interpol for a red corner notice, Zakir Naik has alleged that the case against him is a measure to suppress the voice of the minorities in the country.
In his plea to Interpol, Naik underlined the fact that he had been delivering speeches across the world for the last 25 years and he is respected and welcomed in most countries. Furthermore, the televangelist said that by banning his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, and preventing him from delivering lectures on Islam, the Indian agencies were essentially curbing his freedom of expression, considered to be a fundamental right in India.
Naik further cited the “poor condition of Indian prisons” and “human rights violations” in the country to back his plea and alleged that the case against him is linked to “religious persecution of minorities in India”.
This petition to the Interpol comes after the NIA wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Interpol in May for issuing a red corner notice against Naik.
As one may recall, Naik is currently being probed by the NIA for his alleged association with terrorism and money-laundering. In fact, he fled India on July 1, 2016, after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack said he was “inspired by Naik’s speeches on waging jihad”.
On the other hand, according to the NIA, the controversial Islamic preacher, who is banned in the US and in Canada among several other countries, has since been declared a proclaimed offender, and the process to attach his assets has also been initiated.
Naik has been accused of spreading hatred among the Muslim youth and provoking them against other communities through his instigating speeches. He has also been accused of laundering crores of rupees over the years.