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Does Kerala Youth’s Confession Link Zakir Naik to IS Recruitment?

Relative of a person who went missing in the Middle East alleges pressure from Naik’s follower to convert to Islam.

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21 people have gone missing from Kerala in what is slowly emerging as a slew of hushed religious conversions which is suspected to have led the youths to leave the country and perhaps even join ISIS.

24-year-old Bestin alias Eshia and his wife, 22-year old Merrin from Palakkad are two of the missing 21 people, whose stories are one step closer to unfolding with the recent statement of Merrin’s brother, Erin Jacob (25) submitted to the Kochi Police.

Relative of a person who went missing in the Middle East alleges pressure from Naik’s follower to convert to Islam.
Most people who have gone missing and are feared to have joined ISIS belong to areas around Kasargod and Palakkad in Kerala (Photo: TNM)

Jacob in his statement says that Bestin and R C Qureshi, a member of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) founded by the Islamic scholar Zakir Naik, forcefully tried to convert him to Islam and pushed him to join the terrorist organisation, ISIS.

As per the statement, Qureshi insisted that Ebin should embrace Islam and join IS. It was Bestin who compelled Ebin to come to Mumbai and meet Qureshi. Ebin has also stated that Merrin was forcibly converted into Islam by Bestin while living in Mumbai. Ebin’s statement also said that he is afraid that Bestin might have forced Merrin to join IS which could be why she’s gone missing. 
K V Vijayan, ACP, Ernakulam and Investigating Officer speaking to The Times of India

The Polarivattam police have filed charges against the two missing persons under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (Promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion).

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How It Happened

Bestin had already converted to Islam by 2014, when he approached Jacob with the proposal of going to Mumbai to meet Qureshi. He was then taken to Qureshi’s house where he was presented with the Quran and other religious texts. He was asked to go through all of them, and was even made audience to a comparative study of religions by Qureshi to convince him that Islam was superior to all other religions.

Qureshi told him that non-Muslims must be eradicated to create a world of Islam. He was asked to join IS for this. 
K V Vijayan

Though Jacob did not relent and returned to Kerala, he suspects his sister had been brainwashed in a similar way. His forceful conversion attempt took place last year, when Merrin was working at IBM in Mumbai. Bestin, her boyfriend from Class XI, had already been attending Islamic study classes held by Naik’s IRF in Mumbai, and had been trying to convince Merrin to join. In September 2015, she returned home as Mirriam and informed her family of her conversion.

In May this year, they declared they were leaving for Sri Lanka and have been out of touch since then.

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Zakir Naik Now Directly Linked To Radical Islamic Terrorism?

Zakir Naik has recently been in the news for allegedly ‘motivating’ one of the terrorists of the Dhaka Bakery attack into action. The terrorist initiated a propaganda on Facebook last year, claiming to have been influenced by Naik’s sermon on suicide bombing. Naik recently addressed a press conference in Mumbai to answer allegations in which his main claim was that all his videos are doctored and that the media was out to get him.

Also Read: 6 Bold Statements Zakir Naik Made In His Chaotic, Heated Presser

Relative of a person who went missing in the Middle East alleges pressure from Naik’s follower to convert to Islam.
(Photo: The Quint)

With this statement, Zakir Naik and his organisation have come to be directly linked to the terrorist outfit ISIS, even possibly as recruiters, thereby refuting any claim made by Naik in his defence of merely being a scholar. When the Hyderabad module of the IS was busted, several of the operatives also confessed to being influenced by Naik. Additionally, Bangladesh banned his channel Peace TV last week for not being consistent with Islam, the Quran, Hadith, Bangladesh’s constitution or its culture. With this development, the noose is visibly tightening around Naik and IRF as both believers and non-believers wait to see his next move.

(With inputs from TOI)

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