Mumbai: Indian Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik who courted controversy after reports emerged that two of the Dhaka attackers were inspired by him, has spoken out and called Islamic State ‘un-Islamic’.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the fifty-year-old scholar said the very term Islamic State was ‘un-Islamic’ and called the terror group enemies of the Muslim faith.
“By using the name Islamic State, we are condemning Islam… They are the anti-Islamic state of Iraq and Syria that has killed innocent foreigners. The name is given by enemies of Islam,” he said.
Nayek, a popular but controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is banned in UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
Two of the five Bangladeshi militants who hacked to death 20 people at a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone used to follow Nayak.
Militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV’s controversial preacher Nayek “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”, the Daily Star had reported.
Naik said he was not shocked to know that two of the attackers knew him but asserted that it does not mean that he approves of their ideology. According to him, he has over 14 million followers on Facebook and millions of viewers who watch his speeches on Peace TV, which is telecasted in multiple languages, including Urdu, Bengali and Chinese.
“The largest percentage of my Facebook followers are from Bangladesh. Ninety per cent of Bangladeshis would know me, including senior politicians, philanthropists, common men, students and more. Fifty per cent would be my fans. Am I shocked that the attackers knew me? No.”
Naik argues that such militants would also be ardent followers of Prophet Muhammad but that cannot mean that Islam preaches violence.
“Such a person would be a hardcore fan of Prophet Muhammad. Does that mean Prophet Muhammad told him to kill people?” Naik asked.