Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik has written an open letter to the government, asking it to conduct a “fair” investigation and added that he was ready to face the "harshest of punishments", if found guilty. He issued the document called “Five Questions and an Appeal: An open letter to Indians” Mumbai on Saturday.
In the open letter, he wrote, “I have been preaching for 25 years not just in India but across the world. What exactly did I do now to earn the tags of ‘terror preacher’, ‘Dr. Terror’? Despite exhaustive investigations, not a single conclusive evidence of wrong doing was reported by any governmental agency. But now investigators are being asked to repeat and continue the probe. Why?”
According to him, the allegations and actions against him were examples of "murder of democracy and strangulation of fundamental rights". The founder of Peace TV said if his NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation, was banned, it will be the biggest jolt to democracy. He linked the matter to the whole Muslim population in India and said, "The ban will set a precedence of unspeakable injustices against the 20 crore Muslims of India."
The broad theme of Naik's letter is “if you’ve decided to target a community, you’ve to first target the biggest name and the most popular figure of the community”. "If the government can misuse its authority on a popular figure like me," Naik says in the letter strewn with quotations from the Quran, "average Muslims don’t stand a chance."
Naik, whose Islamic Research Foundation was banned from receiving foreign funds without the Union Home Ministry's approval, asked, "Why would the government renew Islamic Research Foundation's registration and then cancel it? Is there design to leak confidential information of the government, solicitor general and the MHA?”
He asked the government to produce the statements by people who have been forcibly converted. He wrote, “While chasing the Islamic Research Foundation for allegations of forced conversions, why are the agencies ignoring the most basic proof? Where is the converted person and where is his or her statement?”
Naik has been under scrutiny for allegedly inspiring militants behind the Dhaka café attack on July 1, though the Bangladesh newspaper which had been quoted as having made the allegation came out with a categorical denial and said “it did not report that any terrorist was inspired by Zakir Naik to kill innocent people.”