Thursday , August 24 2017
India

Moment they pick up violence, they lose my support: Zakir Naik on his ‘anti-social’ fans

Moment they pick up violence, they lose my support: Zakir Naik on his ‘anti-social’ fans

New Delhi: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Sunday claimed that there has been no misuse of funds by his banned NGO and rejected all allegations of involvement in terror-related activities.

Remaining non-committal on returning to India, where he has been booked for hate speech and under anti-terror law UAPA, the 51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, said he has repeatedly offered his cooperation to NIA. Facing heat over charge of inspiring some of the Dhaka attackers through his speeches, he said the moment someone resorts to violence, he ceases to be Islamic and loses his support. “It is wrong to imply that a few miscreants who joined terror groups were influenced by me. So if I was really spreading terror, wouldn’t I have made a few lakh terrorists by now? Not just a handful.

“In a fan following of millions, there may be a handful of anti-social elements who will go astray and take up violence. But they are surely not following what I’ve told them. The moment they pick up senseless violence, they cease to be Islamic and they surely lose my support,” Naik told PTI in an e-mail interview. Asked about the legal steps he would take to challenge the ban on his NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), he said his legal teams in Mumbai and Delhi were looking into the issue and would move the Court soon.

The Centre recently banned the IRF for five years and declared it as an unlawful association. Nai said the ban on IRF was politically motivated. On allegations of money laundering by IRF in the funds received from abroad, he said the Rs 47 crore in question came from his personal account in Dubai to his personal account in Mumbai in the last six plus years. “It was duly declared by me in the returns and used for lawful activities, including giving gifts and loans to my family members. I don’t know where is the problem in that.

“IRF received about Rs 14 crore in the FCRA account over the past 15 years. Of this, about Rs 4 crore was from NRIs living abroad. Only about Rs 10 crore was received from foreign donors in the last about 15 years. All of this was duly declared to the MHA, including the amounts, the names and the addresses of the donors. So, where is the question of money laundering?” Naik asked.

Asked why was he not returning to India, Naik said he has repeatedly offered his co-operation to government agencies in their investigations but till date, no agency bothered to contact him, ask him questions, or send him any notice.