Mumbai: Hours after media carried reports that one of the terrorists involved in Dhaka terror attack was inspired by Islamic preacher Dr. Zakir Naik and demands against him were raised by a circle, two online petitions are created and put online - one in favour and the other against him.
While the one in favour, addressed to Press Council of India, demands, what it calls, the vilification campaign against Dr Zakir Naik stopped, the other against him is addressed to Home Ministry and demands a ban on Peace TV and arrest of the controversial preacher.
Titled 'Ban PeaceTV, arrest Zakir Naik - Mentor of Dhaka attack killers' the petition against Zakir Naik demands his arrest and a 'thorough' check of other speakers of the Peace TV.
"It's high time to get PeaceTV banned. All the associated celebrities and politicians be thoroughly investigated for terror links.
"Zakir Naik should be arrested and banned from preaching in India", the petition by Agniveer said.
The petitioner Agniveer says it was because of his campaign that the Peace TV was earlier banned.
"Peace TV is the media channel preaching terrorism in the name of preaching Islamic literature. It's president and founder - Dr Zakir Naik has been a mentor of terrorists worldwide. It was banned a few years ago due to Agniveer's campaign but is now back on air", it is claimed in the petition running on change.org.
The petition further says, "Zakir Naik routinely ridicules religious symbols of all other faiths including various sects in Islam in a manner that promotes religious hatred."
"The terrorists behind Dhaka attack met on Zakir Naik social media page. Zakir Naik is the same person who believes in killing/converting Hindus to reach heaven", the petition adds.
The petition, online since July 5, has so far received support from 831 people.
On the other hand the online petition, created on July 6, to support Dr. Zaki Naik has so far received support from 3, 421 people.
Titled 'Indian Media: Stop the vilification campaign against Dr. Zakir Naik' the petition addressed to the Press Council of India, the petition says, "Following the tragic and inhuman attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 1st July 2016, against innocent civilians by a group of young men, allegedly affiliated to the terror group ISIS, reports have started to appear in Indian newspapers, which deliberately attempt to link Islamic Scholar Dr. Zakir Naik to the attackers."
"Newspapers' role is to report facts, based on thorough investigation and not to publish over-blown, stigmatising and scaremongering reports, as is clearly evident in these and many other reports", the petition created by 'Mission Possible for Justice & Rights', says.
"The petitioners request that the Press Council of India investigate the agenda behind these reports, and have them cease their campaign of hate and vilification towards Dr. Zakir Naik.
"We also urge the Council to demand the media houses involved, to issue an apology to Dr. Zakir Naik for tarnishing his image and making a criminal out of a law-abiding and peace loving citizen of India", the petition on change.org says.
"Dr. Zakir Naik is a world-renowned Islamic scholar and speaker, who is a doctor by education. For more than two decades now, Dr. Naik has been giving lectures and holding debates with numerous high-ranking figures of various faiths across the world, including India.
"In his speeches and debates, which is available on the internet, he mainly talks about comparative religion, quoting religious texts of various faiths to bridge gaps between communities.
Dr. Zakir Naik has stated many times that ISIS is 'un-Islamic’ and has called the terror group enemies of Islam", the petition says.
The petition also claims that reports stating that Zakir Naik is banned in Malaysia is untrue, and says Naik had recently given a lecture in Malaysia.
Interestingly, facing backlash for defending Osama Bin Laden in one of his speeches, Naik said the video of the speech was doctored.
“No Muslim should terrorise human being. I was misquoted earlier. I only said Muslim should be terrorists to anti-social elements. Video of my speech on Osama is doctored,” said Naik in an interview to News18.
Speaking to The Indian Express on July 5, Naik had said, “I have said that the Quran explicitly says in Chapter 5 that when a person kills another human being, of any religion, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity. And when a man protects another from being killed, it is as though he has saved all of humanity…
"Why does the media give only half of my quote? I have said that for a thief, a policeman is a terrorist. And people should be terrorists against anti-social elements. The media misrepresents what I said, so I stopped saying this at my lectures.”
Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday indicated taking action against Zakir Naik.
"Zakir Naik's speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken," Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters in New Delhi..
"Terror can be defeated only through close coordination and by fighting together (against it)," he said.