New Delhi/ Mumbai: As the Muslim organizations largely remain mum on the ban imposed on Dr Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), all the defense is being done by the Islamic televangelist who is staying in Saudi Arabia these days. Islamic Research Foundation has been involved in dawah and interfaith relation work for more than two decades.
Over the years, prominent religious leaders from Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities have been appearing on his platform. Nonetheless the current attack on his NGO began with the change of dispensation in New Delhi more than two and half years ago.
Dr Zakir Naik’s NGO has been accused of being involved in money laundering by government agencies, the charges that the Islamic preacher denies vehemently. He says that the ban on his organization is politically motivated.
Zakir Naik has also been accused of preaching extremism to Muslim youth, a charge he denies. Naik says the moment someone resorts to violence he ceases to be Islamic and loses his support. “It is wrong to imply that a few miscreants who joined terror groups were influenced by me. So if I was really spreading terror, wouldn’t I have made a few lakh terrorists by now? Not just a handful.
He goes on to add, “In a fan following of millions, there may be a handful of anti-social elements who will go astray and take up violence. But they are surely not following what I’ve told them. The moment they pick up senseless violence, they cease to be Islamic and they surely lose my support”.
He said that his organization is going to fight the five year ban in courts of law both in New Delhi and Mumbai. He added that his legal teams in Mumbai and Delhi were looking into the issue and would move the Court soon.
When asked about the accusations of massive money laundering by IRF in the funds received from abroad, he said the Rs 47 crore in question came from his personal account in Dubai to his personal account in Mumbai in the last six plus years. “It was duly declared by me in the returns and used for lawful activities, including giving gifts and loans to my family members. I don’t know where is the problem in that.
While detailing the donations through FCRA from abroad, the preacher said, “IRF received about Rs 14 crore in the FCRA account over the past 15 years. Of this, about Rs 4 crore was from NRIs living abroad. Only about Rs 10 crore was received from foreign donors in the last about 15 years. All of this was duly declared to the MHA, including the amounts, the names and the addresses of the donors. So, where is the question of money laundering?” He also said that despite his assurance to cooperate in the case no agency has yet contacted him for investigation in the case.