New Delhi: Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star hit back at controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for claiming that the paper was behind the sensational report that painted him responsible for the attack on Dhaka café that left 20 dead.
"The Daily Star categorically denies this allegation and wants to say it did not report that any terrorist was inspired by Zakir Naik to kill innocent people. The report said that one of the terrorists had propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV’s preacher Zakir Naik urging all Muslims to be "terrorists". In his video speech, Dr Naik himself said he has millions of followers in Bangladesh. Our report was an attempt to show how young minds were interpreting Dr Naik’s views in ways that were perhaps not intended for," the report said.
The paper also clarified that ‘it stood corrected on the report that Zakir Naik was banned in Malaysia.’
"The Daily Star’s reporting was a mere presentation of facts and we regret any misunderstanding between Dr Zakir Naik and this newspaper," the report ended.
Naik, in a Youtube video last week, had blamed the Bangladeshi newspaper for spreading misinformation.
Referring to the report by the paper that said he ‘inspired’ one of the Dhaka Café attackers, he said, "I had to do a little research behind this report. When I spoke to the Bangladeshi government officials, they said that they did not believe that I inspired him to kill innocent people. He may have been my fan, but it is devilish to say that I inspired him to do this act."
Taking Daily Star's name, he had said, "I challenge any of the media to show me any official sources from the Bangladeshi government that they believed that this act was inspired by Dr Zakir Naik."
He also clarified that he was not banned by Malaysia as was reported by the paper, and instead was bestowed with the Tokoman Hijri award by the Malaysian government.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government yesterday banned the broadcast of Naik's Peace TV after of his 'provocative' speeches inspiring some of the militants.
Zakir Naik has been hogging the media spotlight for his views backing slain terrorist Osama Bin Laden and terrorist organisation al Qaeda. A speech in which he praised Laden resurfaced when it was revealed that one of the six militants involved in the Dhaka café attack drew inspiration from his speeches.
The Maharashtra and Central governments have swung into action, constituting nine probe teams from top security agencies in India to investigate Naik. His speeches, CDs, public documents and social media posts are being screened, and foreign funding to Naik is also been examined.