Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed urged Malaysians today not to blindly accept the teachings of preachers whom he said may just want popularity, amid controversy surrounding Dr Zakir Naik’s link to the Dhaka terror attack.

The popular Mumbai-based Muslim televangelist, who has 14 million followers on Facebook and 200 million viewers of his Peace TV channel, is reportedly under investigation in India and Bangladesh after news reports claimed that two of the militants who killed 22 people last Friday in the Bangladeshi capital had been inspired by his sermons.

“You have to question. You cannot accept blindly what preachers tell you,” said Nur Jazlan.

“These are the unintended consequences of practising a ritualistic form of religion and not questioning more, where you rely on preachers who themselves may be doing it for their own benefit, fame, and prosperity,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Indian English-language newspaper The Times of India reported today that India’s counter-terrorism body, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), was looking to question Dr Zakir upon the Indian preacher’s return from Saudi Arabia and that Indian agencies were looking into his speeches.

Besides the Dhaka attackers, Mohammad Ibrahim Yazdani, head of the Islamic State’s module in Hyderabad, India, was reportedly inspired by Dr Zakir and had attended one of his congregations in Mumbai in 2010, besides following his speeches on television and YouTube since 2004.

The Times of India reported Bangladeshi information minister Hassanul Haq Inu as saying that legal experts were examining Dr Zakir’s speeches and sermons and pledged action if the Salafist preacher’s statements were found to have “fanned” terrorism.

Rohan Imtiaz and Nibras Islam were two of the five Dhaka gunmen who were reportedly inspired by Dr Zakir, with Rohan allegedly posting on Facebook a quote he attributed to the preacher that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.

Although Dr Zakir has been denied entry to Canada and the United Kingdom after he reportedly expressed support for terrorist group al-Qaeda, the Malaysian government has welcomed the Islamic Research Foundation president and even awarded him the “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award in 2013 for his contributions to Islam.

Source –Malay Mail Online-

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