New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), filed a prosecution complaint in a money laundering case against the controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik, who came under the scanner when a gunman in the 2016 Dhaka cafe attack said that he was inspired after hearing his sermons. The Dhaka attack had claimed 22 deaths.
According to ED, the money laundering was conducted via “dubious” origins from United Arab Emirates to facilitate production and broadcasting incriminating videos for spreading communal hatred and radicalisation of a particular community.
This is the second prosecution complaint in the case and the first against the preacher by the agency. A total amount of Rs. 193.06 crore has been identified as “proceeds of crime”. The case was filed against Zakir Naik and others on 22 December, 2016. The case was booked by based on the First Information Report given by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The agency has also attached his properties worth Rs. 50.46 crore. The ED had earlier arrested his aide Abdul Najmudin Sathak for helping him in money laundering.
Zakir Naik is a TV evangelist who owns his own channel, Peace TV, through which he broadcasts his religious speeches and discourses. His speeches is mostly filled with snubbing and insulting other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, and non-Wahabi Muslims.
The NIA told the court about the preacher’s insulting speeches and said that it outraged the religious feelings of other communities.
Zakir Naik has used his mass meetings and public conversions to point out that other religions were false. His extremist version of Islam has inspired a whole generation of youth down the path of hardline Wahabism.
His command over English, oratorical abilities coupled with his ability to interpret the Quran in an extreme light brought many followers to him. Educated Muslims also flocked to listen to his sermons. After all Zakir Naik himself is a physician.
Even his attire catered to the likes of more educated and urban Muslim youth. He wore suits, ties and pants and eschewed the traditional dresses worn by Muslim clerics.
The power of his speeches can be understood when we realize that the suicide bomber and mastermind of Sri Lankan bombings, Zahran Hashim, was an adherent listener of Zakir Naik’s speeches.