[Protests in Srinagar to support Dr Zakir Naik. (Habib Naqash/Greater Kashmir)]
Mumbai/Srinagar: Supporters of Dr. Zakir Naik took out a solidarity march in Srinagar on Friday to condemn any action that might be taken against the scholar even as supports poured in for the renowned Islamic preacher from different parts of India and abroad.
Over a dozen supporters gathered peacefully in the Residency Road area and shouted slogans in favour of Zakir Naik.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of their march, Muhammad Aamir, 35, a supporter said: "He is a renowned Islamic scholar who has always condemned terrorism."
"Any action to ban his preaching or his television channel will have serious repercussions," Aamir added.
Meanwhile, supports also poured in for Dr. Zakir Naik in Mumbai and other parts of the country.
In a message released on Friday, M Burhanuddin Qasmi, Editor of The Eastern Crescent, termed the entire 'media trial' as 'Hypocrisy at its peak'.
"I do not appreciate #ZakirNaik nor do I agree with all he preaches. I spoke against him, the way he preaches and his contents, both in private and in public. I even wrote lead stories and editorials disputing his style and arguments and I will continue to do so", he said.
"But what presently some media houses and NIA in India are doing against him in connection with Dhaka attack and Hyderabad arrests is the heights of hypocrisy and Islamophobic! Some people from the ruling party are open and loud in hate-speeches, they say, they are gonna 'make a Muslim free India' (sick) --- yet no action!
"Tomorrow a terrorist will follow your speeches, Twitter and FB pages and would accept or found that he has been following you --- so what?", he added.
"This way whole world is responsible for terror acts --- for, these terror monsters were and are breathing in the same air you breathe. They were and are walking on the same planet you do. They look, dress, eat and speak the same way you do. They also read and watch the same newspapers and TV channels --- we all do!
"So let's start arresting each other for collaborating terror! Name it arrest - arrest (pakram pakri) game!!
"Insanity at its peak, the least, I can say!", he said.
Danish Riyaz of Urdu Journalists Forum, Mumbai also exetended support to Dr. Zakir Naik.
"The forum condemns the allegations leveled against Dr. Zakir Naik by media and wants the vilification campaign against him stopped", he said.
Shahnawaz Khan of Calcutte, in his message posted on a website says, "This is a pure politically motivated propaganda against the world renowned peace loving person like Dr. Zakir Naik which is strongly objectionable. . . Some media house try to make a false baseless alligation about the logical and sceientific person like Mr. Naik. . . This media created rubbish should be stopped."
"I have been following him for the past 4 years. And I have never came across any allegations supporting terror in the name of Islam from this man", Mohamed Nafees said in his message.
On the other hand, a small group led By Raza Academy, Mumbai and other Barelvi celrics in Lucknow are supporting action against Dr. Zakir Naik. They are also demanding a ban on Peace TV, the channel founded by Dr. Naik.
Founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Dr Zakir Naik is under the scanner following revelations that two of the five young militants who massacred 20 hostages, including an Indian, at a popular cafe in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on July 1, drew their inspiration from his speeches.
Dr. Naik denies the allegations saying he did not agree to the notion that the terrorists were inspired by his speeches.
“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 of Maharashtra has ordered a probe into the speeches, writings and other materials of Dr. Naik.
"I have asked the Mumbai Police Commissioner to conduct a probe (into Naik's speeches) and submit a report," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday.