Could India’s officialdom be spreading glib lies about attempting to apprehend scofflaw hate-mongering Islamic preacher Zakir Naik?
He has reportedly applied for a Malaysian citizenship in the mainstream media.
Congress apologists and leading lights of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party are trading charges in the matter after Amir Gazdar one of his aides confessed serious wrongdoing on the part of Naik to Mumbai cops.
The real picture can be deduced from the following pointers reproduced from a blog in these columns published a year ago:
Naik’s bigger backers are located beyond the borders of India – many of them in the Middle-East. The current central government has extended olive branches to all of them to “contain terrorism” and expand trade.
Between 2013 and 2015, Naik was conferred several awards in the Middle East.
Islamic Personality of 2013 conferred on Naik by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Modi had undertaken a two-day visit to UAE in August, a first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years.
UAE is home to 2.6 million Indians.
During the visit, the two leaders pledged to end terrorism.
On September 19 2015, Rashid Al Maktoum succumbed to a massive heart attack at the age of 33.
Conferred by Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah
Born in 1939, Sheikh Sultan III bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi is a member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and current ruler of the Sharjah emirate. He has ruled Sharjah since 1972. The rule was briefly interrupted during a six-day period between 17 and 23 June 1987. It was an attempted coup led by his brother Sheikh Abd al-Aziz bin Muhammad al-Qasimi.
Conferred upon Naik by Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
Some of the others who won this award include King Abdullah Ibn Abd AI-Aziz of Saudi Arabia himself, Al Qasimi of UAE, Presidents Dr Hamed AI-Ghabid [Niger] and [Alija Izetbegovig] Bosnia-Herzegovina and Abdou Diouf [Senegal]; Prime Ministers Mahathir Mohammad [Malaysia] and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [Turkey]
On April 3 2016, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud [who had won the above award himself] presented India’s PM Narendra Modi with the Arab nation’s highest civilian award.
Zakir Naik’s perfidy was publicly known a decade ago.
Naik was banned from entering the UK by the then Home Secretary Theresa May [currently British PM] in 2010.
“Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour,” May was quoted as saying.
The admirers of 1965-born qualified medical doctor Zakir Abdul Karim Naik have spread mayhem on a global scale since 2006.
They include Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-American arrested for planning suicide attacks on the New York subway, Rahil Sheikh , accused of involvement in a series of train bombings in Mumbai in 2006 and Kafeel Ahmed, the Bangalore born man killed during a failed suicide attack on Glasgow airport in 2007.
Indian Journalist Shoaib Daniyal disagreed with Naik’s belief that “Americans swap wives at will because they eat pigs which also swap their wives”. He also pointed out that Naik’s statement that Islam allows a man to marry multiple women because “in the USA, there are more women than men”, was inconsistent with US demographic statistics.
Indian journalists had issued warnings about Naik.
“It would be useful to consider the case of Zakir Naik, perhaps the most influential Salafi ideologue in India,” observed Praveen Swami, a senior Indian journalist in his seminal work part of a book published in 2011.Operative excerpts from its blurb:
Sections of Bollywood backed Naik.
Film producer Mahesh Bhatt supported Naik in 2010 saying the ban constituted an attack on freedom of speech.
Naik’s application for judicial review of the ban was dismissed on 5 November 2010.
The same year, Naik was forbidden to enter Canada after Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, warned MPs of Naik’s views.
The bans on the entry have not been lifted.
India’s mainstream media had begun their harangue in 2016.
Mumbai-based preacher Dr Zakir Naik, who is under the scanner after two of the Dhaka terrorists claimed he was an inspiration, seemed to have been followed by four youths from Kalyan, a Mumbai suburb. They had run away and joined the Islamic State.
Areeb Majeed, arrested for IS activities in Kashmir, is believed to have told interrogators of the National Investigation Agency that he was ‘inspired’ after hearing the lectures of Naik.
Copies of Naik’s lectures were also found in a library located in Bihar, a north Indian cow-belt state. Enquiries had revealed the facility was frequented by Indian Mujahedeen members.
One of those who regularly accessed Naik’s works is Yasin Bhatkal – now in custody in India.
Like the Dhaka terrorists, Mumbai youths hailing from well-to-do respected families are drawn towards fundamentalism-fuelled-violence caused by the speeches of Naik. Besides Areeb, the other Islamic State joiners in the knowledge of police are engineering students Fahad Shaikh and Amaan Tandel.
According to police sources, suitably brain-washed initially by Naik’s hate-speeches, Areeb Majeed’s hatred was honed by a woman, Tahirah Bhatt, who also helped him join the banned group. In turn, Majeed recruited Shaikh, Tandel and others. They fought in Iraq. Currently, Majeed is in jail. Shaikh had contacted his family a few months ago. The whereabouts of Tandel aren’t known.
“The named youths were provoked to commit anti-national activities citing the destruction of Babri Mosque and Gujarat riots. Primary sources of ‘inspiration’ were hard-copies of Naik’s works. Naik’s rallies used to witness huge footfall in Bihar,” the official added.
Families of 15 young men and women from Kerala state’s northern districts suspect their offspring may have joined the Islamic State, according to top sources in India’s southern-most state.
It is not exactly known whether Zakir Naik’s speeches had impelled the youths to take such a step. However, a Press Trust of India report published by the website catchnews.com revealed alarming aspects of this unlikely tale. Operative excerpts:
State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the police to launch a probe into the matter urgently, said Member of Parliament P Karunakaran. He represents the north Kerala constituency of Kasargod – located on the state’s borders that touch Karnataka.
“Family members of these youths were aghast reading Whatsapp messages. ‘We are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us,’ one message said. ‘We have joined IS to fight US for attacking Muslims,’ said another. These youths were visiting the Middle-East for religious studies. We brought it to the notice of CM P Vijayan,” said Karunakaran. He had been apprised of the issue by a local body leader VPP Mustafa and a legislator M Rajagopalan.
This group comprises men, women, couple and even a child travelling along with parents.
The abhorrence of family members back home is apparent from the statement issued by Hakim, a male parent of one of the ‘missing’ youths.
“If my son returns as a good man, I will welcome him. If not, I do not want to see even his dead body,” Hakim was quoted as saying.
According to Rajagopalan, all those missing were below the age of 30 and highly qualified. This motley ‘missing’ crowd includes a medical doctor couple and an engineering graduate, his wife and a 2-year-old child. Before dropping out of sight, different persons in this group had presented varying tales for leaving Kerala. The reasons included visiting families far away job search.
The youths’ approach to life had undergone a sudden change during the last 2 years after accessing inflammatory Islamic literature, Rajagopalan added.
Surely Zakir Naik is an influential man.
Naik was ranked 89 on The Indian Express’s list of the “100 Most Powerful Indians in 2010”.
Naik was ranked 82 in the 2009 edition.
BBC’s Sanjiv Buttoo says he is acknowledged as an authority on Islam. However, he warns that Naik is known for making negative remarks about other religions.
US based senior journalist Sadanand Dhume observes that Naik has a ‘carefully crafted image of moderation’. This has been achieved through a gentle demeanour, dress sense of wearing of a suit and tie and his quoting of scriptures of other religions.
Naik was also listed in the book The 500 Most Influential Muslims under honourable mention from 2009 through 2014.
Seven serial blasts had ripped through Mumbai’s suburban railway network at peak hour on July 11, 2006, leaving at least 147 dead. The death toll had risen to 189 later. The incidents’ mastermind was Rahil Sheikh, currently in prison.
Sheikh is a trained as a computer engineer.
Sheikh’s brothers – Faisal and Muzammil were charged in the 2006 bombings.
Sheikh’s telephone records had indicated that he had been receiving calls from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Also, it has been suggested that he was acting as the point man to collect funds and pass it on to the LeT which is said to have carried out the attacks.
Sheikh is said to have travelled to Pakistan.