India and Bangladesh bans Dr Zakir Naik’s Peace TV
Following recent Islamic terror attacks in Bangladesh, India has banned Naik’s Peace TV (motto: ‘The Solution for Humanity’). Its neighbour, Bangladesh, then imposed a similar ban.
Peace TV – “a 24-hours Islamic International TV Channel” – serves as a platform that air’s Naik’s mainly ignorant and inflammatory views.
According to The Bangladeshi Humanist Zakir Naik had been accused in India of inspiring, “albeit perhaps inadvertently”, the recent terror attacks that rocked Bangladesh.
The Islamic proselytizer, rising to fame for his pedantic knowledge of the world’s religion, can and has been described as everything ranging from ‘an authority on comparative religion’ to a radical Islamic televangelist, perhaps an equivalent of the US’s Ted Haggard.
The Mumbai-based preacher is hardly a stranger to being tangled in the web of controversy, accruing a name for himself through range of purported comments aired on his channel Peace TV and other areas. These include his consideration of the theory of Darwinian evolution as a mere ‘hypothesis’ and ‘unproven conjecture’, as well his admission that Muslim men are entitled to sex with their slaves. He is banned from entering the UK and Canada.
The Dhaka terror attacks were said to have been inspired by Naik’s teachings, leading to an analysis of his programme and and an evaluation of its place in Indian television. The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe to be conducted into his sermons, the contents of which officials have described as “a security hazard”.
The government has indicated its intention to check the contents of Naik’s teachings, from his TV programme to his writings, and and also the sources of the funds for his channels.
Some of his sermons posted on YouTube may also be removed.
Naik is currently on a trip to Mecca. He has aired a WhatsApp-ed video insisting on his innocence, deflecting any blame for the attacks.
The Bangladeshi Humanist carried a follow-up report, saying that the government of Bangladesh has announced that it will ban Peace TV in the wake of reports that the Dhaka gunmen were inspired by Naik’s teachings and writings.
Naik was most recently in the news when he released “Peace Mobile 2”, the second edition of the “world’s first authentic Islamic smartphone”.
Editor’s note: There is an interesting analysis on “Islamic televangelism” here.
Regrettably, the radicalization of Islamist televangelism has emerged as a serious threat to the global democratic societies with Muslim populace. It has communicated the exclusivist messages of radical Islamism more effectively than even the sizeable corpus of extremist jihadist literature. The Salafism-inspired Islamic TV channels have done an irreparable damage in the war-torn Middle Eastern societies perpetuating retrogressive religious thoughts furthering nefarious political ends. That it has taken roots in South Asia is a matter of grave concern for the peace-loving and pluralistic peoples of the region.