Zakir Naik accused of hate speech clarifies his statements with the Indian Media via videoconferencing arranged at a venue in Mazagaon, Mumbai
Express photo by Nirmal Harindran
AFTER FOUR failed attempts to get a venue, controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik finally managed to address a press meet, where he termed himself a “messenger of peace” and said he had no plans of returning to India this year.
During the press meet, held at a banquet hall in Mazagaon where he lives, he addressed the media from Medina over Skype. The meet lasted 5 hours, 10 minutes. “I have been giving lectures for more than 25 years, there is not a single talk of mine where I have encouraged any human being to kill any other innocent human being, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. I am totally against terrorism…,” Naik said.
Naik came under fire after reports that some terrorists involved in Dhaka attack followed him on social media and were inspired by his speeches.
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He said he was available for any probe. “…no government agency has approached me. I welcome any probe against me. …but as per my plan I will come back next year.”
Naik alleged that the Centre had failed to protect “messengers of peace” and fanatics were becoming powerful under the current regime. “If I would have been a member of ruling party or the information and broadcasting minister, I would have pulled up all those people (referring to the media) who have been targeting a messenger of peace. But, the present government remains silent,” he added.
He added: “PM Modi was banned in more countries than I am. But just because he won the polls, situation for him changed. See the Gujarat riots… So many cases have been filed against him. But nobody will ask him anything because he is the Prime Minister,” he said.
Asked about his proximity with Congress, he said: “It was during the Congress rule that Peace TV was denied downlinking permission. So, to say I am close to Congress would be incorrect.”
Replying to a query on a tape where he is heard saying, “Let’s have suicide bombings”, he said the tape wa…