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Zakir Naik’s UK-registered Foundation under scanner

Activists of Shia National Front during a protest against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Lucknow on Saturday.

Activists of Shia National Front during a protest against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Lucknow on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Govt. probing huge donations to the preacher’s outfits.

Even as the Union Home Ministry said it is analysing CDs of Muslim evangelist Zakir Naik, who has come under the scanner after the Dhaka terror attacks, the government is also probing the financial records for massive contributions that the preacher’s organisations received in the past few years.

According to investigations, Dr. Naik is a trustee of the UK-registered Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI) that has received over £7 million in donations between 2009 and 2014.

A study of the U.K. government database by The Hindu revealed that IRFI received the maximum of £1.42 million of public funding in 2010.

The Birmingham-based Foundation was set up on January 11, 2007, for the purpose of religious and other charitable activities. It has its email and website registered on “peacetv.tv” domain.

Government sources said IRFI primarily funds Peace TV that broadcasts Dr. Naik’s public speeches. The television network is banned in the U.K., the U.S., Canada and China. In 2010, the U.K. government had banned Dr. Naik; he is also not allowed to enter Canada and Malaysia.

Zakir’s funds mostly from Saudi, UAE: Govt.

Following allegations that one of the terrorists involved in the recent Dhaka terror attack and killing of 20 hostages was inspired by the speeches of radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the Indian government has also initiated a probe into the foreign funding of his non-government organisations.

FCRA declaration

At least two of his Mumbai-based educational organisations, Islamic Research Foundation and IRF Educational Trust, are registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), said government sources. The Islamic Research Foundation was established in February 1991, whereas the IRF Education Trust runs one Islamic International School in Mumbai.

A study of the returns filed by the two NGOs with the MHA under the mandatory FCRA regulations revealed that they received about Rs.10 crore in the past decade. The funds came mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Donations were also made by individual donors from countries like Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Indonesia, the U.S. the U.K., Canada, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, Mauritius, Kenya and Nigeria. A Hong-Kong based religious NGO also funded the Foundation, which had received Rs.93 lakh from just one individual from the United Arab Emirates in 2007-08.

The maximum reported donation of over Rs.2.5 crore came to the Islamic Research Foundation in 2009-10, whereas the returns filed for 2014-15 reported receipt of Rs.1.58 crore. The organisation had, however, reported nil foreign funding in 2008-09 and 2012-13, according the MHA online database.

Its annual returns filed with the UK authorities reflected the minimum inflow of funds to the tune of £ 0.95 million in 2014.

After the Bangladeshi government sought investigations against Dr. Naik, an Indian national, Aslam Durrani, initiated an online petition to the MHA and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, seeking a ban on his Foundation.





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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 4:04:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Zakir-Naik%E2%80%99s-UK-registered-Foundation-under-scanner/article14479970.ece

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