By Adi Chowdhury
After a tumultuous controversy sparked clearly in the wake of recent Islamic terror attacks in its neighboring nation Bangladesh, India has banned Zakir Naik’s Islamic channel Peace TV.
The prominent (and sometimes notorious) Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik had been accused earlier of inspiring, albeit perhaps inadvertently, the recent terror attacks rocking Bangladesh. The Islamic proselytizer, rising to fame for his pedantic knowledge of the world’s religion, can and has been described as everything ranging from “an authority on comparative religion” to a radical Islamic televangelist, perhaps an equivalent of the US’s Ted Haggard. The Mumbai-based preacher is hardly a stranger to being tangled in the web of controversy, accruing a name for himself through range of purported comments aired on his channel Peace TV and other areas. These include his consideration of the theory of Darwinian evolution as a mere “hypothesis”and “unproven conjecture”, as well his admission that Muslim men are entitled to sex with their slaves. He is banned from entering the UK and Canada.
Most recently, the Dhaka terror attacks have been said to be inspired by Naik’s teachings, leading to an analysis of his program and evaluating its place in Indian television. The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe to be conducted into his sermons, the contents of which officials have described as “a security hazard.”
The government has dictated its intentions to check the contents of Naik’s teachings, from his TV program to his writings–and also the sources of the funds for his channels. India has planned to “take strict actions” and work towards barring any airing of his program.
Some of his sermons available on YouTube are also intended to be taken down, sources report.
Naik is currently on a trip to Mecca. He has aired a WhatsApp-ed video insisting on his innocence, deflecting any blame for the attacks.