Mumbai | Controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation today admitted that Arshi Qureshi, who was arrested from Navi Mumbai yesterday by a joint team of Maharashtra ATS and Kerala Police for allegedly radicalising a Kochi-based woman, has been associated with them but denied any terror encouragement by their staff.
In a statement issued here, an IRF spokesperson said Qureshi is a Guest Relations Officer with the organisation, but denied any encouragement on part of their staff to make anyone join terrorist organisation, ISIS.
Dr Zakir Naik and IRF have repeatedly condemned ISIS for being anti-Islamic. No staff of IRF will ever encourage anyone to join ‘AISIS’ (Anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the statement said. Qureshi was picked up from his Navi Mumbai residence last night and placed under arrest in connection with a case registered in Kochi on July 17.
The case was registered, days after at least 21 youths from Kerala were reported missing and suspected to have joined Islamic State, against Yahiya, the husband of Kochi-based Merin alias Mariyam, who went missing in the Middle East about a month ago, and Qureshi, on a complaint by her brother.
In his complaint with Palarivattom police station in Kochi, Merin’s brother alleged that his sister was trapped and converted to Islam and radicalised by Yahiya, a Christian from Palakkad who had embraced Islam, and Qureshi during her stay in Mumbai in connection with her job last year, police had said. Her brother also alleged that the duo also compelled his sister to join IS. He had accused the duo of trying to convert him to Islam and compelling him to join the IS during his stay with his sister in Mumbai.
A case under IPC sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 153 A (promoting enmity between groups) as well as under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was registered in Kochi. Meanwhile, IRF said, Dr Naik had held a staff meeting a year ago condemning ‘AISIS’ and warned its people not to get misguided by those who support ‘AISIS’ which is actually the Anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who wrongly call themselves ISIS.
A local court in Navi Mumbai yesterday granted Kerala Police Qureshi’s transit remand till July 25. Naik, a city-based televangelist who also runs Peace TV, has been under scanner of various agencies after one of the attackers involved in the Dhaka terror strike posted that he had been influenced by the preacher.
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