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Zakir Naik says he doesn't promote terrorism
Published:  Jul 7, 2016 12:15 PM
Updated: 6:54 AM

Controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik has denied that his speeches promote terrorism, and welcomed investigations against him.

This comes after it was reported that two of the terrorists involved in the killing of 20 hostages in Dhaka, Bangladesh, were social media followers of Zakir, who is based in Mumbai, India.

"It is totally illogical to say that I promote terrorism,” he said, as reported by CNN-News18 yesterday.

"Not a single investigative agency says Dr Zakir Naik promotes terrorism. The Home Ministry is most welcome to go through all my speeches.

"I have a large following. These people might have been inspired by me but I don’t know them personally.

"I fear media and politicians because they might malign my image. There are people who are using my photographs and misquoting me to defame me. I welcome any investigation against me," he said.

'Videos doctored'

Zakir has also denied that he had ever said that all Muslims should be terrorists, adding that the video where he was alleged to have done so, was doctored.

Similarly, he said the video circulated on social media of his controversial speech on Osama bin Laden, had also been doctored.

He did not even know Osama, he said, and he did not call the former al-Qaeda leader a saint or a terrorist.

"I always preach no Muslim should terrorise anybody...Anyone who kills people, whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim, will go to hell.

"I said every Muslim should be a terrorist to all anti-social elements. It is unfortunate that people are alleging that I am promoting terrorism," he said.

However, Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said that there were reports that two of the attackers were inspired by Zakir.

"We got in touch with the ulama to look into Naik's speeches. There are complaints against him in our country for his controversial speeches.

"Our investigating agencies are looking at all angles but I am not in a position to reveal everything at this moment," the minister said.

Previously, India Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said investigating agencies were probing Zakir's speeches.

Upscale cafe attacked

Last Saturday, a group of Islamic gunmen shouting "Allahu Akbar", attacked an upscale cafe in the Bangladeshi capital, killing 20 people inside, before police stormed the building and rescued 13 hostages.

It was reported that six of the gunmen were killed during the police operation and one had been captured.

On Monday, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar had confirmed that two of those involved in the attack studied at Monash university in Sunway, but could not verify if the pair were attackers or victims.

Monash University has also said that they have yet to receive any confirmation if the former students were victims or assailants.

They added that they will provide an update once identities have been confirmed by the authorities.