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Govt probing funding of NGO run by preacher Zakir Naik

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Shah forms committee over Kandhamal killingsNew Delhi:- Activities of NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), set up by controversial preacher Zakir Naik, are being examined by the Home Ministry, amidst allegations that funds from abroad received by it have been spent on political activities and inspiring people towards radical views.

A senior Home Ministry official said an investigation was underway on IRF, which was registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), and it was found that most of his foreign funds came from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and a few other Middle East countries.

IRF has allegedly received about Rs 15 crore for a period of five years, preceding 2012, the official said.

Mumbai-based Naik has come under the scanner of security agencies after it was reported that his speeches have inspired some of the terrorists who had taken siege of Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka July 1. Maharashtra government had last week ordered a probe into the speeches by the televangelist.

The Home Ministry probe is covering the allegations that foreign funding to IRF was used in political activities and that the NGO’s funds were used to induce people towards Islam and “attracting” youths towards terror, the official said.

All such activities are contrary to FCRA and any violation invites punitive action.

IRF’s source of foreign funding are being examined thoroughly by the Home Ministry.

Accounts of IRF are being checked to find for what purpose the funds were sent from abroad and for what purpose the funds were utilised, the official said.

Officials said that according to an intelligence report the content of “Peace TV”, in which Naik regularly appears and gives sermons, is “not conducive” to the security environment in the country and poses “security hazard”.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that CDs of Naik’s speeches are being examined for necessary action and asserted that the government will not compromise on the issue of terrorism.

Naik, however, had released a statement, saying he “totally disagreed” that he inspired the killing in Dhaka.

“There is not a single talk of mine where I encouraged one to kill another, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” he said.


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