Dr Zakir Naik’s YouTube channel – with around 2 Million subscribers and 100 million views, has been blocked across India due to a “legal complaint from the government,” hence rendering most of its contents unavailable.
Dr Naik, addressing the development, said, “the government has blacklisted my channel, they do not want people to watch the message of peace that I’m spreading.”
The channel includes videos of Dr Zakir Naik answering questions poised to him from people worldwide, on topics relating to Islam, it’s practical applications and rulings. He famously lectures on “Similarities between Islam and Hinduism”, “Islam and Modern Science”, the concept of God in various religions and actively clarifies Non- Muslims’ doubts regarding Islam.
In his recent video, he also suggested his viewers in India to change their location settings if they wish to watch his videos.
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 in India, 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 Indian 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.
In June last year, Dr Naik had issued a statement expressing his willingness to return to India if the Supreme Court assured him in writing that he would not be taken into custody till he is actually convicted.
“Despite allegations and complaints, there is not a single verdict against me in any court anywhere in India or the world. The recent history of India is replete with cases of Muslims being arrested and put in jail for eight-20 years before being declared innocent by the court. Knowing this record of the Indian agencies, I would not like to take a chance of ruining my life and my unfinished work,” Dr Naik had said.
“I want to hasten up clearing my name from fictitious charges by the Indian agencies, they continue an exercise steeped in injustice and unfairness and are trying to put in jail irrespective of whether I am guilty or not… without trial and without hearing,” he had claimed.
“Any rational mind will see that the Indian agencies are not being driven by their duty of solving a crime but by the will of their political bosses. Fortunately for me, Interpol is not driven by Indian politics. Somehow they are not convinced about my ‘crime’ the way Indian agencies have been claiming,” Dr Naik had added.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had also said his country has the right not to extradite Dr Naik if he is not going to be accorded justice. “Zakir, in general, feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India),” he was quoted as saying.
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.