Cable operators in Sri Lanka have allegedly blocked Peace TV, the television network founded by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, just over a week after the Easter Sunday bombings which killed more than 250.
The Colombo Gazette reported yesterday that the country’s two largest cable operators – Dialogue and SLT – have ceased carrying Peace TV.
The report claimed that the station “has often been used by Islamic State recruiters for indoctrination and brainwashing youth.”
However, Colombo Gazette also noted that no official announcements has been made by either cable company, and that the Sri Lankan government itself has not banned the station.
Despite millions of followers around the world, including in Malaysia, Zakir's preachings have often been accused of bordering on hate speech and insulting other religions, which he denies.
Founded by Zakir in 2006, Peace TV has been banned in India, where the preacher is wanted on charges related to money laundering and funding terrorism. He denies the allegations.
The preacher is currently living in Malaysia, where he was granted a permanent residence by the BN government in 2012.
Despite an official request from New Delhi and the extradition treaty between both countries, the Pakatan Harapan government has insisted that the preacher will not be sent back unless he breaks any local laws.
Peace TV was also banned in Bangladesh following the deadly 2016 Islamist terrorist attack in Dhaka. One of the attackers is reported to be an admirer of Zakir, posting the latter's quote on social media.
Recently, it was reported that one of his disciples, 35-year-old Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu, was arrested in Perlis for allegedly insulting Hinduism.
Several police reports were lodged against Zamri over a sermon uploaded online that was deemed "blasphemous."
In the April 21 attack in Sri Lanka, a series of explosions hit hotels and churches, killing 250 and injured scores of others. IS has claimed responsibility, but provided no proof that it carried out the attack.