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Will Cooperate With Any Probe, Naik Says After Postponing Return

In a strongly worded statement, Naik said he never backed terror activities and that the media were using video clips of his speeches to mount a case against him.

Smitha Nair | CNN-News18smitharnair

Updated:July 11, 2016, 7:09 PM IST
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Mumbai: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Monday said he would cooperate with any investigation into alleged terror links, hours after his office informed he would not be returning to India immediately.

In a strongly worded statement, Naik said he never backed terror activities and that the media were using video clips of his speeches to mount a case against him.

"I do not support terrorism or violence in any form whatsoever. I have never supported any terrorist organisations and have mentioned this over and over again in thousands of my public talks worldwide. I strongly condemn anyone taking my statements out of context and using it for violence of any form," he said.

Naik said he would record answers to most of the allegations against him and put them out on social media and other platforms.

He also said no government agency from India had so far contacted him for seeking any clarifications on the allegations raised against him.

"It would be my pleasure to cooperate with any official Indian government investigation agency for any information they might require from me, he said.

The statement was issued hours after his office told CNN-News18 that he would not be present at the media briefing that was scheduled in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Though his office claimed he had not cancelled his return to India and that he was planning to address the media through Skype from Medina, police sources pointed out this was not the case.

CNN-News18 also learnt the Islamic scholar is not expected back in the country for at least three weeks as he would be touring Africa.

Sources close to the investigation said a team will scrutinise Naik's speeches online and would also seek help from Islamic scholars to understand his interpretation of Islam.

His speeches are believed to have inspired some of the Bangladeshi terrorists, who killed 22 people, mostly foreigners, at an upscale restaurant in Dhaka on July 1. Bangladesh has also banned the broadcast of controversial Naik's Peace TV, cracking down on the channel and radical sermons.

The activities of Naik's Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation are also under the scanner of Indian Home Ministry amid allegations that funds from abroad received by it have been spent on political activities and inspiring people towards radical views.

The Maharashtra government has also ordered a probe into the sermons by the 50-year-old televangelist that has kicked up a storm.

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