Renowned Islamic speaker Dr Zakir Naik, who has been living in Malaysia ever since India banned his organisation over two years ago, has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government for increasing his ‘popularity’.
Dr Naik, 53, who is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, said that before the ban only few Muslims and non-Muslims knew him, but after the ban many more people have become familiar with him and his work.
“After spending millions of dollars in propaganda against me, for his vote bank, today Masha’Allah more than 90 per cent of Muslims in India know me and more than two thirds of non-Muslims know me (sic),” he said.
Dr Naik was speaking at an event organised at the University Utara Malaysia on April 18.
Dr Naik has been living in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency, and is known to be close to officials in the Malaysian administration.
The Islamic speaker came under an intense media storm, after a newspaper in Bangladesh, reported that one of the attackers of the 1st July 2016 Dhaka attack had shared one of his speeches on Facebook.
Although the Dhaka-based newspaper Daily Star, later clarified that Dr Naik did not inspire the Dhaka terror attack, however, the government and media houses have continued their campaign against the Islamic speaker, accusing him of being an “inspiration behind terror attacks across the world”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Dr Naik under anti- terror laws in the same year for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups, the charges, which he and his supporters have vehemently denied.
A doctor by training, Dr Zakir Naik is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Peace TV channel. He is well known for his debates and lectures on comparative religion.