PETALING JAYA: Controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik today hit back at India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) over claims that the majority of Islamic State (IS) supporters arrested in the country had been radicalised through his videos.
He also accused the NIA of making “frivolous statements” about him without any proof or evidence despite years spent investigating him.
“The NIA, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and police have spent over three solid years investigating thousands of my videos, speeches, and printed materials, but have not come up with a single statement on video or in writing that says I’ve promoted violence.
“And yet it claims 127 persons caught in terror activities were influenced by me. That is a blatant lie,” he said in a statement.
The NIA was reported as saying on Monday that the majority of the 127 people arrested in different parts of the country linked to IS became radicalised because of videos featuring Naik.
The agency’s inspector-general, Alok Mitta, was quoted as saying this was why a case had been registered against Naik and others.
However, Naik said merely following someone on social media “does not make terrorists”.
“Content does, which in this case is absent.”
Naik also accused the NIA of “intentionally and publicly lying” about the matter, saying it is “obvious” the individuals in question were influenced by other reasons or people.
“God forbid, if my talks were creating terrorists – and I have over 200 million followings – trust me, they would not be a handful few. They would be in lakhs, perhaps millions,” he added.
Naik, who holds permanent resident status in Malaysia, also invited Mitta to visit him in the country if further clarification is required.
“I can host him in Malaysia at any time and sort out all of NIA’s misconceptions about me,” he said. “(But) whether Mr Mitta accepts my invitation or not, NIA must stop the witch-hunt.”