Dhaka: The Bangladesh government on Sunday decided to close down Peace TV, a Mumbai-based channel run by controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said his ministry will evaluate the issue and adopt administrative measures to take the channel off air on Monday.
“There are issues related to administrative decision-making… we don’t have time today, I will see about taking the administrative steps from Monday morning,” Haq said hours after the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order decided to ban the controversial channel, reported bdnews24.com.
“Peace TV is inconsistent with Muslim society, the Quran, Sunnah, Hadith, Bangladesh’s Constitution, our culture, customs and rituals,” Inu added.
The ban came in the wake of the recent bloody terror attacks which rocked Bangladesh one after another. On July 1, two of the seven young militants, who struck at an upscale cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic Gulshan enclave, were reportedly inspired by the Salafi tele-evangelist’s speeches.
The gruesome attack claimed the lives of 22 people, including 18 foreigners and two policemen, during the 12-hour siege which the security forces ended with a successful rescue operation codenamed as ‘Operation Thunderbolt’.
“We have decided to stop airing the channel across the country,” Xinhua news agency quoted Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu as saying.
Less than a week later, another terror attack — at the Sholakia Eidgah, in Kishoreganj, in central Bangladesh — claimed the lives of four people, including two policemen, as hundreds of thousands gathered for Eid prayers on Thursday morning at the country’s largest congregation.
The Indian authorities on Friday said they were examining and analysing the speeches of Naik and appropriate action will follow.
“We have taken cognisance of Zakir Naik’s speeches and necessary instructions have been issued in this regard,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
Naik, who is based in Mumbai, said from Makkah that he “totally disagreed” that he had inspired the terror attack in Dhaka.
“There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged one to kill another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” he said in a statement.