Banned preacher Zakir Naik suggests ‘good non-Muslims’ are still going to hell
A newly released video clip available on the YouTube channel of the India-born popular Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, sees Naik indicate that ‘righteous’ non-Muslims, such as Mother Teresa, would go to hell. Zakir Naik was banned from entry to the UK in June 2010. Theresa May, then Home Secretary, said that visiting the UK was “a privilege, not a right”, adding that “Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour”.
During the newly released clip, Naik is seen answering a question from an audience member on whether ‘righteous’ and ‘good’ non-Muslims such as Mother Teresa would still go to Hell or to Heaven. In his answer, Naik referred to four minimum criteria for going to Heaven [Jannah] – having faith; being righteous; engaging in proselytisation [da‘wah]; or exhorting people to practice patience and perseverance. He concluded that Mother Theresa would not pass these criteria, since she did not have faith in Islam; and she also committed polytheism [shirk], which, he added, is a crime according to Islam and Christianity.
At the time at which Zakir Naik was banned from entering the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) had issued a press release referring to Naik as a “renowned Indian mainstream Islamic scholar” and calling the decision “a serious error of judgement”. More recently, UK Islamist websites have continued to promote Zakir Naik and the content he produces. The website Islam21C has published a number of pieces favourable to Naik, including a piece from June 2018 which presented the focus on the “founder of Peace TV” as one example of how “anti-Muslim hate” has allegedly been “poisoning the Conservative Government”. In May 2020, another article from Islam21C featured Naik prominently in a piece about Islamic scholars issuing a “letter to humanity”.
Similarly, the website 5Pillars has recently featured several of Naik’s videos, including one from July 2020 in which Naik discussed the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a Mosque, and another from January 2020 in which Naik spoke about his position on Kashmir.
Even though Zakir Naik was banned from travelling to the UK, two TV channels which he founded – Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu — continued to broadcast on Sky until 2019, when they finally surrendered their licences. Both channels were funded by a charity named Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI), of which Naik served as a trustee.
The stations were fined several times by Ofcom for anti-Semitism and hate speech expressed by speakers, and in 2018 it was reported that Ofcom conducted six investigations into the channels that year. In September 2020, Naik was reportedly barred from being associated with the Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI), and the Charity Commission appointed an interim manager to operate the charity.
Naik currently lives in Malaysia. Indian prosecutors have reportedly charged him with money laundering, and he was accused of acquiring $28m (£21m) worth of criminal assets—a claim he denies. Naik has also previously been accused of preaching that borders on hate speech and of inspiring terrorism. Peace TV is currently broadcast from Dubai; however, the channel has been banned in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
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