After reports that two of the Dhaka terrorists were followers of controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, the President of Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai is back on the radar of security agencies. Naik had earlier courted controversy by supporting Osama Bin Laden.

 The preacher had said, “... if he (Osama) is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him. I don’t know what he’s doing. I’m not in touch with him. I don’t know him personally. If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America the terrorist …I am with him.”

Naik had earlier come under the scanner of security and Intelligence agencies after endorsing suicide bombing. Naik had justified suicide bombing as a last resort “if done under the guidance of scholar.”

Rohan Imtiaz, one of the Dhaka attackers and son of a Awami League leader, had quoted Naik on Facebook last year “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”, a Bangladeshi newspaper said.

Naik, who received Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal International Prize in 2015, has been banned from entering the UK and Canada for his ‘hate speeches’ against other religions.

Several Muslim and Sufi organisations in India too had protested against Naik last year alleging he was an agent of Saudi Arabia and spreading divisive Wahhabism in India.

However, successive governments in India have treaded cautiously against him.

Sources in Indian intelligence said they were examining the cases of other Indians recently arrested for terror conspiracy to understand ‘how’ and ‘where’ they were radicalised.

“We are also examining videos posted by Naik’s Peace TV on social media platforms and his speeches on various other websites,” the sources added.

The NDA government said the government doesn’t ban individuals, but organisations and as far as Zakir Naik case is concerned, an official report from Bangladesh is still awaited.

“We don’t ban individuals. We ban organisations. So far, there is no formal communication from Bangladesh. If they request us, we will examine what can be done,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.  

A UK court had cited several examples of how terrorists were influenced by Zakir Naik’s preaching.

An example cited in a UK Court judgment banning Naik from entering the country in December 2011 said, “Kafeel Ahmed, one of the terrorists behind the failed attack on Glasgow airport in 2007, reportedly hoped to invite Dr Zakir Naik to address his own group, known as “Discover Islam”.

It further goes on to say; “Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the US, reportedly “became enchanted with the controversial Indian Muslim televangelist Dr Zakir Naik” before planning his attack.