The Union Government has declared Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), as an ‘unlawful organisation’ and banned it for five years on 15 November 2016.
‘Unlawful organization means any organization that conducts or gets involved in any activity deemed punishable under Section 153A or 153B of the Indian Penal Code. These two sections are provisions that deal with threat to social and communal harmony.’
The ban was imposed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) after a final go-ahead at a Union Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A formal notification for the same will be soon issued by the Home Ministry.
Key triggers behind the ban
• Provocative speeches by Zakir Naik: In many speeches compiled by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Naik can be heard praising Osama Bin Laden, justifying suicide bombings and making objectionable comments against Hindus, their religious places and gods.
• Naik’s suspicious relationship with Peace TV: A lot of the International Islamic Channel, Peace TV’s content is formed from Naik’s hate speeches.
• Criminal cases filed against Naik: FIRs have been filed against Naik and other members of IRF in two police stations of Mumbai, one in Kerala and two in Sindhudurg under Section 153A or 153B of the Indian Penal Code.
• Large amount of money transfers have also been detected from Naik’s UK-based charity IRF International to Peace TV.
• An educational trust run by Naik, is also under scanner and has been prevented from receiving any foreign funding.
Naik’s Terror Background
• Naik’s terror links came under scanner when Rohan Imtiaz , one of the accused of 1 July 2016 Dhaka terror attack quoted Naik in a propaganda he ran on Facebook last year.
• Testimonies of 50 terror accused and jailed convicts also reveal that they were motivated by Naik’s speeches to take up jihad.
• Naik is already banned in the United Kingdom and Canada for his hate speeches against other religions. His name also falls in the list of 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
• Many of Naik’s speeches on Peace TV urge Muslims to become terrorists. The Channel is banned in India and Bangladesh for its terror inciting content.
The 5-year ban on the NGO will mean closure of all its offices across the country. Naik’s counsel has however, has called the ban ‘illegal and unjustified’ and will be setting up a tribunal to challenge the order.