GOI extends ban on Zakir Naik’s IRF, says it pollutes minds of people

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The government of India has extended the ban imposed on Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s non-governmental organisation Islamic Research Foundation for five years, PTI reported.

In 2016, Islamic Research Foundation had been declared an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for five years. The ban on the organisation was to expire on Tuesday.

Naik, who lives in Malaysia, has been on the Indian government’s radar ever since allegations surfaced that he had inspired one of the terrorists who carried out an attack at restaurant in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka in July 2016. Naik has repeatedly denied the accusations.

In a notification on Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it is of the view that the Islamic Research Foundation and its members, especially 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

The ministry said that Naik has made “radical statements” to millions of people across the world through various mediums.

“Through such speeches and statements, Zakir Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred among religious groups and inspiring youths of a particular religion in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts,” the home ministry claimed.

The home ministry said it believes that if the unlawful activities of Naik’s organisation are not controlled, it will “continue its subversive activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding”.

The notification added, “It [Islamic Research Foundation] will take the opportunity to disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagate anti-national sentiments and undertake activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.”

The government said that after taking into consideration all these aspects, it had decided to extend the ban on Islamic Research Foundation for five more years.

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