KUALA LUMPUR: A special judicial tribunal in India has upheld the government’s ban on Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
The tribunal found there were sufficient reasons, including a threat to India’s security, to outlaw it.
The IRF had petitioned the judicial tribunal against the Nov 17, 2016 ban under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
A report in the Times of India said the tribunal, headed by Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, had relied on evidence that included the controversial preacher’s speeches.
It also took cognisance of evidence that 24 youths who travelled from Kerala to Afghanistan to join the Islamic (IS) State were regulars at IRF’s office in Mumbai.
The report quoted the tribunal as finding: “On analysing the speeches delivered by Zakir Naik, it is abundantly clear that the same are provocative and derogatory.”
It added that the material placed before it showed that Naik was actually using the IRF as a platform to propagate a radical version of Islam.
The Times of India reported that the tribunal took a grim view of the “enduring impact” of Naik’s provocative speeches, said to have “inspired the attackers who struck at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery in 2016”.
It also noted that Naik had failed to participate in the legal proceedings before it and had absconded and was untraceable.
The IRF petitioned the tribunal after the Delhi High Court, on March 16, held that the government’s decision to ban the IRF was taken to safeguard national security.
Naik, who was granted Malaysian permanent resident status five years ago, has been in and out of Malaysia frequently.
His presence here has caused ill-feelings among people of the various religions, leading to heated verbal exchanges in the media between those who support him and those who want him barred from entering the country.
Meanwhile, India’s National Investigation Agency has approached Interpol to issue a red corner notice against the controversial Islamic preacher.
If the red corner notice is issued against Naik, who is being probed for terror and money laundering charges, it would mean that he will be declared an international fugitive and could be arrested by any agency around the world.