Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik called himself a victim of ‘media trial’ and promised to cooperate with any probe that the government agencies want to conduct against him.
Naik’s troubles started after it was reported that some of the accused in the July 1 Dhaka bakery attack that killed 20 people were influenced by his preachings.
However, in a TV interview broadcast on Monday, Naik said he never supported terrorism and was, in fact, targeted by the media.
“I have heard many allegations against me in the Indian media… As far as being afraid is concerned… I am not afraid at all. So far, there has not been a single Indian government authority which has called me. Just because the media has labelled allegations against me… I am not going to come to India for a media trial,” he told India Today news channel in Saudi Arabia.
Naik also supported what he termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to improve relations between Hindus and Muslims and also between India and other Muslim countries.
“If PM Modi is trying to build harmony between Hindus and Muslims, I am all for it,” Naik said, adding that Modi was the only Prime Minister who visited several Muslim countries in such a short span of time.
Naik also questioned the use of Islamic State (IS) for describing the group that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
He said the group was basically “Anti-Islamic State as it kills innocent people which is prohibited in Islam”.
“The Quran says one who kills an innocent being, kills the entire humanity,” said Naik.
He said he never supported terrorism, whether it was in Dhaka, London or New York.
Naik, who also runs Peace TV to broadcast his teachings around the world, said he was for Uniform Civil Code, provided it was fair.
“Let’s have an objective panel and choose the best code. I believe the Islamic code is the best. I will argue on behalf of Islam,” Naik told the channel.
The government has launched a crackdown on Peace TV, asking cable operators not to broadcast it as it does not have a licence in India.