‘Promoting Enmity, Hatred’: NIA Chargesheets Zakir Naik
The Islamic televangelist has been charged with inciting communal hatred, and has been declared an absconder.
On Thursday, 26 October, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a 58-page charge-sheet in a Mumbai court against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his two firms, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Harmony Media.
He is charged with unlawful activities, promoting hatred between religions, deliberately indulging in malicious acts, insulting religion to disturb communal harmony, diverting money for anti-India activities, and influencing youth in hateful activities through provocative speeches.
Naik has been absconding since 2016.
The Quint has accessed the NIA chargesheet, which states:
“There was credible information to the effect that Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik and his associates have been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures on various platforms and inciting Muslim youth and terrorists in India and abroad to commit unlawful activities and terrorists acts.”
On 17 November 2016, the government had declared IRF unlawful under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The IRF was registered as a charitable trust on 21 December 1990 in Mumbai.
The following were the primary objectives of the IRF as stated in the chargesheet:
- Production of Islamic programmes in digital format and to circulate it for public view
- Arranging talks and lectures for Zakir Naik
- Conversion of non-Muslims into Islamic religion
- Extending scholarships and educational support to schools, mosques and madasas
- To propagate Islamic faith
The NIA had registered a case against Naik under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 18 November 2016.
The NIA stated that during the investigation, the agency recovered CDs/DVDs which firmly established incriminating public speeches of Naik. These speeches were in circulation through electronic media like Facebook, YouTube, etc, across the world.
According to the NIA, the minutes of the IRF board of trustees’ meetings disclose that it has approved, organised, promoted, and funded public lectures of Naik, including his incriminating speeches. Harmony Media videographed hate speeches of Naik, and edited and forwarded the same to be broadcast on Peace TV.
The chargesheet states that Naik delivered hate speeches during the 10-day Peace Conference organised by the IRF in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011.
NIA Lists Nine ‘Inflammatory’ Speeches
The NIA, in its chargesheet, highlighted nine specific speeches and 50 DVDs delivered by Naik on different occasions. It also states that these speeches not only hurt religious sentiments but could have incited communal violence.
The titles of these speeches are:
- Terrorism and Jihad – an Islamic Perspective
- Media and Islam: War or Peace
- ZN Se Poochiye Sawal Wa Jawab Ka Khula Ijlaas
- Zakir Naik Se Poochiye Sawal Was Jawab Ki Khuli Nashisht
- Similarities between Hinduism and Islam
- Concept of God (Q&A Session)
- Ask Dr Zakir an exclusive open question and answer session, Chennai
- Ask Dr Zakir an exclusive open question and answer session, Dubai Day-1
- Ask Dr Zakir an exclusive open question and answer session, Dubai Day-2
The chargesheet cites two quotes by Naik taken from his speech in Srinagar in 2012 during the Ganpati festival. According to the NIA, these quotes were posted on IRF’s Facebook page.
Naik’s quotes were:
“If you prove to me that Shri Ganesh is Bhagwaan then I will eat the prasaad.”
“If your Bhagwan cannot recognise his own son (Sri Ganesh), how will he recognise me if I fall into any difficulty?”
According to the agency, Naik admitted before the Supreme Court that the said controversial quotes were posted on his Facebook account by an employee of the IRF.
One of the key prosecution witnesses is Naik’s sister, Nailah Naushad Noorani, who was the trustee of the IRF Educational Trust. In her testimony to the NIA, she stated that she signed cheques on the instruction of her brother and had no knowledge of the company affairs.
Noorani was appointed as director of Harmony Media as well as Longlast Constructions Company, when Naik became an NRI in 2013.
Noorani had received Rs 29 crore from Zakir Naik through her parent’s bank account between 2013 and 2016. This money was further invested into Harmony Media and Longlast Constructions company as per Naik’s instructions.
The agency further revealed that the IRF and the IRF Educational Trust have received huge donations within India and abroad. Most of the acknowledgement receipts don’t have a real name mentioned, but only have ‘well wisher’.
The agency has found that Naik is the owner of 19 immovable properties, including land and buildings, worth Rs 104 crore. The NIA is investigating the mode of acquisition of these properties.
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