Controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik has clarified that he only urged Muslims to “terrorise” evil doers and insisted he never supported terrorists, India Today reported.
In a telephone interview with India Today Television, Zakir also alleged that the clips in which he spoke of former Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden had been doctored.
Zakir – who has come under the spotlight after it was revealed that two of the gunmen who attacked a cafe in Dhaka which left 20 dead were inspired by the preacher – also claimed that the Bangladesh government had no problem with him.
The Mumbai-based preacher, according to the report, also claimed there were some quarters trying to spread hate in his name.
Zakir, India Today also noted, “has distanced himself from the controversial statement that “all Muslim should be terrorists.”
However, in a recording of the interview uploaded by the Indian broadcaster on its Facebook page yesterday, Zakir admitted that the clip which featured him saying that every Muslim should be a terrorist was not doctored.
Following the deadly attack last Friday, both India and Bangladesh have now launched investigations into the controversial preacher. Muslim clerics from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh meanwhile, want the popular preacher arrested, with a blanket ban on his TV network Peace TV.
Back in Malaysia, opinion is divided over the Salafist preacher, who created quite a stir when he was invited to give a series of lectures earlier this year in the country.
Malay right wing NGO, Perkasa called upon Muslims to defend Zakir, while Multiracial Reverted Muslims, a Muslim NGO, said those linking the preacher to the attacks were envious of his popularity.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has urged Putrajaya to rescind the Maal Hijrah award given to Zakir and ban him from speaking in Malaysia.
Hindraf Makkal Sakthi meanwhile wants the government to bar the errant preacher from entering the country and outlaw his teachings.