Indian Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik Among Religious Fundamentalists Followed By Dhaka Attackers

04/07/2016 10:29 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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Two of the five Bangladeshi militants who hacked to death 20 people at a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone used to follow three controversial Islamists, including Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. Militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV’s controversial preacher Naik “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”, the Daily Star reported.

Naik, a popular but controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is banned in UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is wildly popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV although his preaching often demeans other religions and even other Muslim sects, the report said.

Another Dhaka attacker Nibras Islam, 22, used to follow two alleged suspected recruiters of Islamic State – Anjem Choudary and Shami Witness – on Twitter in 2014. Shami Witness is the Twitter account of 24-year-old Mehdi Biswas, who is also facing trial in India for running propaganda for the Islamic State. He was arrested in December 2014 following an investigation into his Twitter account which was last active in August 2014.

Biswas was charged for operating the “single most influential pro-ISIS Twitter account”. 49-year-old Choudary, a Pakistan-origin British citizen is now facing trial in England for breaking the British anti-terrorism law. His twitter account became inactive from August 2015 after terror charges were brought against him.

Choudary allegedly told his supporters to travel to territory controlled by the “barbaric regime” in Syria and Iraq. “This means at least in the case Nibras and Rohan, they did not become radicalised overnight. They have been consuming radical materials for one to two years before finally disappearing in February-March and reappearing as ‘IS killers’ Friday night at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan,” the paper said.

From their pictures posted by the ISIS media and recirculated by the SITE Intelligence Group, it can be assumed that these young men received arms training after their disappearance specifically to carry out the mission on June 1.

“Their attire with IS logo in their backdrop, the automatic rifles held in their hands reveal they underwent an organised training which is far from anything amateurish. That the killers released some of the hostages 15 minutes before the army-led operation on Saturday morning also showed the depth of their brains being washed—that they were ready to die,” the paper added.

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