Indian authorities charge Dr Zakir Naik with money laundering

Dr Zakir Naik

Prosecutors in India have charged the prominent Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik with money laundering.

Dr Naik, who currently lives in exile in Malaysia, is accused of acquiring $28m (£21m) worth of criminal assets, a claim he unequivocally rejects.

Indian authorities have also falsely accused him of inciting terrorism and spreading hate speech,

The 53-year-old preacher advocates Islam and debates Christians and Hindus on his channel Peace TV, which has an estimated 200 million viewers worldwide.

Peace TV is banned in India, Bangladesh and most recently in Sri Lanka.

The channel broadcasts from Dubai and is owned by the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a group headed by Dr Naik.

On Thursday 2 May, India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes, filed the charges against Dr Naik in a court in Mumbai.

The ED told the court that it had identified assets worth millions of dollars as proceeds of crime.

Dr Naik’s “inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts”, ED told the court.

The agency has accused him of using funds from “dubious or suspicious sources” to purchase properties in India and finance events where he made “provocative speeches”.

Dr Naik says the money was obtained legitimately.

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