Lebanese want Zakir Naik banned over speaking tour


PETALING JAYA: Lebanon is the next stop for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and the people in the Middle East nation are up in arms.

Activists in the country have launched a campaign to block Naik from a speaking tour in Lebanon, according to The New Arab.

Calling Naik’s views “extremist” and “inflammatory”, the activists say his presence is not conducive to the “harmony of a multicultural country like Lebanon”.

The activists said his views may encourage attacks on both non-Muslims and moderate Muslims.

“We are considering taking legal action on the grounds that his views may be in violation of Lebanese laws regarding sectarian incitement,” the activists were quoted as saying by The New Arab.

Naik’s prominent speaking tours are now limited to Muslim majority countries since he left India last year, following actions by the Indian government against his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and him over allegations linked to terrorism and money laundering.

There have been reports made against him in various countries, resulting in him being barred from entry by the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries for several reasons.

Naik had been accused by Indian authorities of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, of funding terrorists and laundering several crores of money over the years. His IRF and Peace TV have been banned by the Indian government.

Last month, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) approached Interpol to issue a red corner notice (RCN) against the controversial Islamic preacher.

Having issued a non-bailable warrant against Naik, a special NIA court in Mumbai had said “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Naik is evading arrest and that he will not voluntarily appear before the court or before the agency”.

The court had also said that it found substance in the allegations made by the NIA.

Naik fled India after some of those involved in the July 1, 2016 Dhaka (Bangladesh) terror attack claimed they had been inspired by him.

In its latest move, Indian authorities are now considering revoking Naik’s passport as that could result in him being deported.

However, Naik has reportedly been granted citizenship by the Saudi Arabian government last month in order to prevent him from being arrested under the red notice issued by Interpol. If true, the cancelling of his Indian passport would also not have any impact on his movements.

According to a report in the Middle East Monitor, Naik is believed to be currently in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. He also keeps moving between Malaysia and Indonesia.

His speaking engagements in Malaysia have also stoked controversy among the non-Muslim population, and the government recently revealed that he had been given permanent residency status more than five years ago.

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