This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
The Times of India, Aug 11, 2016
Police say Zakir Naik got 60cr in 3 years from abroad
A total of Rs 60 crore was deposited in controversial televangelist Zakir Naik's bank account in the last three years from three different countries, a Mumbai police investigation has found. The money was transferred to five accounts belonging to Naik's family members, a police officer who did not wish to be named said.
Police sources said they had probed the money angle and found details of all transactions. "We still don't know what this money was meant for. We have made an inquiry and found the money trail. The money was transferred to family members' accounts," said the officer.
The account, the officer made clear, does not belong to Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) but is his own.
Police are looking into the financial transactions of Naik and the IRF. However, they are yet to question IRF officials. "We may question them about the source of income, the connection between the depositors and Naik," said the officer.
A decision on whether to initiate action against Naik's two NGOs under the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act 2010 is yet to be taken. The Union home ministry is examining possible FCRA violations by IRF and IRF Educational Trust, both registered as "educational" NGOs under FCRA but reportedly receiving and utilising foreign funds for "religious and religion-linked" activities.
Naik's manager parked Rs 149cr in cash with Gazdar
May 2, 2017: The Times of India
Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's close business associate Aamir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case against Naik and IRF, has told the NIA that he was given Rs 148.90 crore in cash by Naik's manager Aslam Qureshi between August and October 2016 for safekeeping, before it was taken away in instalments.
This was the time when Naik had already come on the security establishment's radar for his hate speeches that allegedly incited youth to commit terror acts.
Gazdar, a trusted aide of Naik, holds 5% stake in his companies Longlast Constructions Pvt Ltd and Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, apart from being a 50% shareholder in his two other firms, Alpha Lubricants and Majestic Perfumes.There has not been any transaction in the latter two companies, he claims. The remain ing stake in each of these companies is held by Naik's sister Nailah Noorani. Gazdar is also a trustee in Islamic Research Foundation International and director in Naik's UK-based ventures Universal Broadcasting Corporation Pvt Ltd Co and Lord Production Pvt Ltd Co.
As per Gazdar's statement to the NIA, Naik's modus operandi was to form shell companies and trusts and use them to make big money transfers via a web of deceit, with “friendly loans from family members and trusted aides, movement of huge amounts of illegal cash and big real estate investments“.Naik's pointpersons for all this were his kin, including sister and brothers-in-law, as well as loyal aides. After he became an NRI in 2013, he transferred share holdings belonging to himself and wife Farhat Naik to his sister Nailah.
In her statement to the NIA, Nailah confirmed that she had received loans amounting to Rs 29 crore from her mother Roshan Naik and now deceased father Abdul Karim Naik between 2013-14 and 2016-17. From this, Nailah regularly gave out loans to Longlast Constructions and Harmony Media. Nailah's husband, Nausad Noorani, told the NIA that a trust named Islamic Dimensions was formed by Naik in 1996 and he and other family members were made trustees. However, Nausad insisted that the trust was largely dormant for the last 15 years.
As per Gazdar's disclosures, he first met Naik in 2003 in connection with the interview of his son for school admission. They struck a friendship after Gazdar refused to take brokerage for two properties worth Rs 2.40 crore and Rs 18 crore he had shown to Naik.In 2005, Naik invited Gazdar to be a partner in a company he intended to float Harmony Media, which would make content to be telecast on Peace TV . Gazdar claimed Global Broadcasting Corporation, Dubai, for which Harmony Media was making content, was the source of funds for the latter.
Gazdar told the NIA that he would regularly sign blank cheques and I-T returns for Naik's firms and keep cash deposits sent by him before handing it over to his trusted aides, all without raising a question.He also gave “friendly“ loans Rs 41.50 lakh to Longlast in March 2016 and Rs 2.35 crore to Harmony Media between 2005 and 2016. He received loans of Rs 8.35 crore from Naik's parents, including through his wife's bank account, for a marble factory but these were returned after the venture did not take off.
Even Nailah told the NIA that she would regularly sign cheques and documents as per her brother's instructions, with Aslam Qureshi being one of Naik's key staffers who would visit her house to get the signatures.
2016: Govt bans Islamic Research Foundation for 5 years
Bharti Jain | TNN | Nov 15, 2016, Government bans controversial preacher Zakir Naik's NGO for 5 years
NEW DELHI: The government on 15 Nov 2016 banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), the NGO of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik+ , as an 'unlawful organisation' for five years with immediate effect.
The ban has been enforced under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and approved at a meeting of the Union Cabinet.
The Times of India had earlier reported that the government intended to ban IRF+ citing Naik's "objectionable and subversive" speeches, the criminal cases filed against him and other members of IRF in Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Kerala, as well as his "dubious" links with Peace TV that allegedly features "communal" and "pro-jihad" content as grounds for such a ban.
An 'unlawful' association is different from a 'terrorist' organisation listed under UAPA. The law defines 'unlawful association' as any organisation "which has for its object any activity that is punishable under Section 153A or 153B of IPC" - provisions dealing with threat to social and communal harmony.
Declaration of IRF as 'unlawful' under Section 3 of the UAPA will force closure of its offices and interests across the country.
According to sources in the home ministry, there was a solid case+ for proscribing IRF based on inputs and material shared by the Maharashtra government and the central intelligence agencies.
There are FIRs against Naik and other IRF members under Section 153A and 153B of IPC in 2 police stations of Mumbai, 1 in Kerala and two in Sindhudurg. There are several of Naik's speeches compiled by Intelligence Bureau (IB) including where he extolls Osama bin Laden, claiming that 80% of Indians [would not have] been Hindus as Muslims could have converted them "if we wanted" by sword [this is not objectionable at all: Indpaedia], justifies suicide bombings, claims Golden Temple may not be sacred as Mecca and makes objectionable comments against Hindu gods. Most of these speeches form the content on Peace TV, a part of which was put together by Mumbai-based Harmony Media Pvt Ltd that once had Naik and his wife as directors. Large money transfers have been detected from UK-based charity IRF International, run by Naik to Harmony Media.
As per the Cabinet note proposing action against IRF, which incorporated legal opinion favouring a ban on the NGO for disturbing communal harmony and attempting forced conversions, Zakir Naik+ has been promoting enmity between religious groups and inspiring Muslim youth in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.
"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," states the draft Cabinet note accessed earlier by TOI. "If urgent steps are not taken (to ban IRF), there is every possibility of more youth being motivated and radicalised to commit terrorist acts," it warns.
The case against Naik
Ajai Sahni , The Curious Case of Zakir Naik "Daily Excelsior" 13/11/2017
It was in the wake of the Holey Artisan Bakery terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1-2, 2016 (where 29 persons, including the five terrorists, were killed) that the extraordinary success of Zakir Abdul Karim Naik hit a wall. Rohan Imtiaz, one of the terrorists involved, had posted on Facebook prior to the attack, quoting Naik. Reports subsequently claimed at least three of the five had been 'inspired' by Naik, and his Peace TV was banned in Bangladesh. The channel had been broadcast without official sanction in India, but was proscribed in 2012. After the Bangladesh developments, however, Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was declared an 'unlawful association' in November 2016. In January 2017, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued summons against Naik under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. As he failed to appear before both the ED and-in new investigations-the National Investigation Agency (NIA), his passport was revoked in July.
A rash of allegations relating to incitement to terrorism has found its way into the media over the past year. Areeb Majeed, one of the four Kalyan boys, who were the first from India to join the Islamic State, told interrogators on returning home that he was 'inspired' by Naik; four of the 21 from Kerala who joined Daesh in Afghanistan were said to have been converted from Christianity by Naik's 'close aide' Rizwan Khan, before their decision to join IS; Abu Anas, charged by the NIA for links with the Daesh-linked Junood-ul-Khalifa-fil-Hind, got a scholarship from IRF between 2013 and 2016. Ibrahim Yazdhani, 'chief' of the 'Hyderabad module' of Daesh, was 'deeply influenced' by Naik. So was Noor Mohammad, who aborted a plan to travel to Syria to join Daesh.
On October 26, the NIA finally filed charges against Naik and the two organisations he heads-IRF and Harmony Media Pvt. Ltd. Most of the charges relate to 'promoting enmity, hatred or ill will', and acts 'intended to outrage religious feelings'. The only charge under counter-terrorism provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is 'membership of an unlawful association'-the IRF. There is a charge of 'criminal conspiracy' under which several of the alleged terrorism links could be examined.
But conspiracy charges are notoriously difficult to prove. None of his cases leaked to the media indicates any active intent or agency on Naik's part. Mere association will be insufficient to establish criminal culpability. But if the cases are linked to the broader offence of inciting communal hatred, the prosecution may make some headway. The NIA charge-sheet lists nine speeches "found to be inflammatory as they hurt religious sentiments besides inciting violence".
The challenge will be to establish a chain of evidence linking Naik or the organisations he heads to specific acts of incitement to offence, as against 'advocacy' of radical ideas that may come under protection of free speech-a distinction Naik is evidently well aware of. Even if he falls short of incitement to offence, he may be in significant jeopardy for 'hate speech'. But Naik has been exceptionally cautious. Most frequently reported are Naik's declarations that "every Muslim should be a terrorist" and his support for Osama bin Laden. There are many versions of these statements, but what he says is heavily qualified, hypothetical, even disingenuous. He argues that America is "the biggest terrorist in the world" (a claim put forward by many others, prominently including Noam Chomsky) and that if bin Laden is "terrorising the terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist"; he follows this with the qualification that if bin Laden kills innocents, then he is acting against Islam. It would take an exceptional lawyer to bring this under the offence of hate speech or incitement.
Naik has widely and freely propagated a rigid, fundamentalist, exclusionary and supremacist brand of Islam. But far more dangerous is the unchecked proliferation of radicalising preachers and institutions not only of extremist Islamist doctrines but of extremist interpretations of other faiths. Naik is far from alone among those who exploit the impunity conferred by the cloak of religion on a wide spectrum of disruptive fanatics.
(The author is executive director, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi)
Naik apologises to Malaysians
August 21, 2019: The Times of India
Under fire, Zakir Naik apologises to Malaysians
Zakir Naik apologised to Malaysians for making racist comments, after he was grilled for 10 hours by police and banned him from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country.
The Bernama news agency reported that Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, issued an apology for the hurt caused by his controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese during a talk on August 8.
Naik’s apology came after he was questioned for a second time for allegedly making provocative remarks, in a session which lasted about 10 hours at the police headquarters.
The radical preacher was first questioned following the contentious remarks made in his speech against Hindus where he questioned their loyalty to the country and took a jibe at the Chinese community as “old guests” in Malaysia. PTI