KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 ― The Mumbai special branch has found no concrete evidence in its preliminary investigation that controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s speeches amounted to hate speech, a report said.
Quoting a source from the special branch of the Mumbai police in India, Indian English-language paper Hindustan Times reported that the team, comprising more than 20 police officers, had gone through Naik’s sermons and speeches available in the public domain in the past eight days.
In the preliminary probe, the team found terms and lines in the preacher’s sermons to be “objectionable but not provocative”.
“The police team heard the sermons and speeches and all the objectionable content was pinned down after listening to the transcripts.
“Those documents have also been attached to the preliminary report on Naik,” a police officer was quoted as saying.
The source told Hindustan Times that the findings will be handed over to Mumbai police commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar after the latter called for the probe on Dr. Zakir.
According to the news report, the investigation was called following reports that linked the Mumbai-based televangelist’s sermons to the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which left 22 people dead.
Dr Zakir, who has been banned from Canada and the UK for his controversial sermons, has been making headlines in India and Bangladesh recently after news reports emerged that two of the militants behind the attack in Dhaka were followers of the popular televangelist.
On July 7, Dr Zakir admitted in a telephone interview with Indian broadcaster India Today that a video clip of his speech purportedly exhorting “every Muslim to be a terrorist” was not altered, but insisted that a video clip of his purported support for Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terror group was “doctored”.
Bangladesh said on July 10 that it has decided to ban the airing of Dr Zakir’s Peace TV channel, while India has threatened to take action against cable operators that continue to air Peace TV which had been banned there since 2012.
Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar recently told Malay Mail Online that he will review Dr Zakir’s sermons and speeches made in India and Bangladesh before deciding whether or not action is required.