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Zakir Naik a centric figure for every Islamic State recruit in India, abroad

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New Delhi, Apr 29: The raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in various places in Kerala have led to the seizure of Zakir Naik related literature. This is however not for the first time that literature relating to the controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik has been seized.

The fugitive who is in Malaysia has had his name taken several times in the past by radical elements. He has however maintained that he has nothing to do with these incidents and India is indulging in a witch-hunt against him.

File photo of Zakir Naik

In the Kerala Islamic State case, his name has cropped in the past as well. The raids that were conducted on Sunday are related to the same case and the NIA has learnt that the members of this module were on the same social media group that the terrorists who undertook the Sri Lanka blasts were. The NIA has however said that it found no direct link between the Kerala module and the one in Sri Lanka.

ISIS Kasargod case: NIA questioning 3 suspects, Zakir Naik speeches seized

Last year, the NIA arrested Nashidul Hamzafar a 26 year old management student from Wayanad in Kerala. He was the first ISIS recruit from Kerala to be deported from Afghanistan.

During his interrogation, he details the role played by Islamic preachers such as Naik and what sort of an influence they had on him, which ultimately prompted him to join the ISIS.

Hamzafar says that he was not attracted to the ISIS ideology for long. I found them to be too brutal and the outfit only scared me, he says. My ambition was to pursue my education and find a good job in Dubai.

A lot changed when one of his friends, Shihas sent him an audio clip regarding the Islamic State. My perception towards the outfit changed. Then I began listening to audios of Zakir Naik, Noman Alikhan among others. Their speeches inspired me and my approach towards life changed.

Going by his statements, it becomes clear that the likes of Zakir Naik through his Islamic Research Foundation and the Kerala based Peace Educational Foundation have played a huge role in the radicalisation of youth in Kerala.

Recently a Mumbai court had framed charges against Arshi Qureshi. The case relates to the indoctrination of Ashfak Majid and his associates into extreme jihadi ideology by a group of like-minded youths from Kasaragod district of Kerala. It was also stated that some members of the Zakir Naik run NGO, Islamic Research Foundation too were involved in the radicalisation process.

It was further alleged that these persons had motivated the youth to join the Islamic state.

Not a witch-hunt:

Naik has repeatedly claimed that he is being targeted due to his religion. An NIA official however says that this is misconstrued and the agency is targeting him for acts of terror.

India's Interpol move part of a larger witch hunt: Zakir Naik

In a reply to the Interpol, the NIA said that he is under investigation for funding terror suspects. The NIA also pointed out that it had repeatedly sent out summons to Naik, but he has not once presented himself before the agency. The NIA also said that his passport had been revoked.

Further the NIA also said that Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation had been banned by the Government and the same was upheld by the tribunal. He had funded a few terror suspects through his NGO and hence he needs to be questioned in that connection, the NIA also told the Interpol.

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