Cable operators in Sri Lanka have reportedly blocked the prominent Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s Peace TV channel in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings which killed at least 253 people.
Bangladesh and India had banned the channel as authorities claimed ISIS recruiters used the channel to allegedly brainwash the youth.
Two of Sri Lanka’s largest cable operators, “LT” and “Dialogue” have reportedly stopped airing Peace TV. However, an official announcement regarding the move is yet to be made.
On Monday, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a man in Kerala who is suspected to have links with ISIS, and who allegedly was a follower of the Easter Sunday attacks, Zahran Hashim.
The suspect who has been identified as Riyas Aboobacker, 29, also known as “Abu Dujana” has allegedly told investigators that he had been watching videos and listening to speeches of Dr Naik, as well as of Hashim.
While the Indian media are widely reporting this admission by Aboobacker, it cannot be ruled out that this information could have been obtained by torture or be fabricated by the NIA to fulfil a wider anti-Islam agenda.
The NIA said Aboobacker was arrested for conspiring to commit a terrorist act in connection with its investigation into 2016 ISIS cells in Palakkad and Kasargod.
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The world-renowned preacher Dr Naik has been under investigation by Indian agencies since 2016 after his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) organisation was banned for five years.
Dr Naik has been falsely linked with terrorist organisations by Indian authorities and is currently residing in Malaysia.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claiming in a recent video that the group’s operatives had carried out the attacks to territorial losses in Iraq and Syria.
However, the Sri Lankan government has blamed a local “Islamist” group National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) for the bombings, and believe that its leader Hashim was the mastermind of the group that carried out the blasts on Sunday 21 April.