Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant has written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking ban on Naik. “People whose language propagates violence against the nation’s unity should be banned,” Sawant said in the letter.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the government was keeping a watch on his activities. “Zakir Naik’s speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken,” Rijiju said.
STINGING ATTACKS ON AMERICANS
He has described Osama Bin Laden “as a soldier of Islam”. He also once said Americans swap wives because they eat pigs and pigs also swap wives. Naik was, however, denied entry into the United Kingdom and Canada in June 2010. In 2004, Naik, at the invitation of the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia, made an appearance at the University of Melbourne, where he argued that only Islam gave women true equality.
He also said ‘revealing Western dresses’ made women more susceptible to rape.
WHO IS ZAKIR NAIK?
50-year-old Naik was trained as a doctor in Mumbai before becoming a public speaker. He founded the IRF in 1991 and became quite popular among the Muslims with his distinctive style of preaching. Unlike many Islamic preachers, his lectures are colloquial, given in English and not Urdu or Arabic.
Naik preached that his goal is to concentrate on the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel the religion is outdated.
He considers it a duty of every Muslim to remove perceived misconceptions about Islam and to counter what he views as the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US. Many of his debates are recorded and widely distributed online. His talks have been recorded in English and broadcasted on weekends on several cable networks in Mumbai’s Muslim neighbourhoods, and on the Peace TV channel, which was banned in Indian in 2012.