New Delhi: The government on Thursday notified the ban on Salafist preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO , Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), citing Naik’s “objectionable and subversive” speeches extolling terrorists like Osama bin Laden, justifying suicide bombings and proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist.
“The IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and President of the said association, Dr Zakir Naik, have been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religious communities and groups,” said the gazette notification issued by the home ministry declaring IRF as an “unlawful association” under Section 3(1) of the UAPA.
Stating that the activities of IRF and Naik were “highly inflammatory in nature” and that “if urgent steps are not taken there is every possibility of many youth being motivated and radicalised to commit terrorist acts leading to promoting enmity between different religious groups,” the notification said the Centre was of the firm opinion that it was necessary to declare IRF as an unlawful association with immediate effect.
The ban on IRF comes even as an inspection of accounts of IRF Educational Trust, another NGO founded by Naik that runs the Islamic International School in Mumbai and Chennai, is underway. Home ministry sources said with IRF now declared ‘unlawful’, its funding to IRF Educational Trust will come to a stop. “In any case, as IRF Educational Trust was put on prior permission recently, all foreign contributions to it will need to be approved by the home ministry,” said an official.
“He has been extolling known terrorists like Osama bin Laden, proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist and claiming that if Islam had indeed wanted, eighty per cent of Indian population would not have remained Hindus as they could have been converted…by sword, justifying the suicide bombings, posting objectionable comments against Hindu gods, claiming that Golden Temple may not be as sacred as Mecca and Medina and making other statements which are derogatory to other religions,” it states.
“…Through such speeches and statements, Dr Zakir Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups and inspiring Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts,” the notification said adding that “such divisive ideology is against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India and thereby making it an unlawful activity”.