KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial preacher Zakir Naik and his associates converted people to Islam and then radicalised them, according to a report in India Today.
Based on documents seized by India’s National Investigation Agency and questioning of Naik’s aides, it said 24 youths from Kerala, some of them converted by Naik’s outfit, were radicalised before leaving for Afghanistan to join the Islamic State terrorist group.
India Today reported that some of these youths were regular visitors to the office of Naik’s Mumbai-based non-profit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and attended meetings with key Naik aide Arshi Qureshi.
The report gives the names of some of the youths who converted and left for Afghanistan. One of them was a young dentist, Nimisha, who took the name Fatima after conversion.
India Today reported that after getting indoctrinated, Nimisha refused to touch patients and gave up dentistry completely.
She and her lover, who also converted, were among the 24 youths from Kerala who went to Afghanistan. She delivered a child at an IS camp in the Khorasan area, according to the report.
The report said several parents and family members of the youths who were radicalised had made police reports. One of them, Abdul Majeed, said his son Ashfaq Majeed, had joined IS. He blamed Qureshi for radicalising him. This, and other similar reports, led to the detention of Qureshi.
Another man, Nizamudeen TK last August told police that his brother Hafeesudheen, an IS recruit, had invited him to attend an IRF function, where he learned about the conversions, according to India Today.
Naik has denied any involvement with terrorists or that he promotes terrorism. He fled India when investigations started and has refused to return to India to answer the charges levelled against him, saying he would not get a fair trial. Naik has Malaysian permanent resident status.