TN Congress MLA calls absconding Islamic preacher Zakir Naik a ‘saint’, exhorts Muslims to vote against Modi

He might be booked under an anti-terror law and declared a proclaimed offender by the courts, but Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik is a ‘saint’ in eyes of Congress MLA S Vijayadharani.

In a speech delivered in 2016 which seems to have gone under the radar of all mainstream outlets, apart from showering praise on Zakir Naik, the MLA also exhorted the Muslim community to vote out the Modi Government which she accused of ‘scaring’ Zakir Naik from entering Bharat.

MLA Vijayadharani represents the Vilavancode constituency in Kanyakumari district. She is also a Supreme Court advocate and the Tamil Nadu Assembly Congress Legislative Party chief whip. Her full speech can be seen here.

The Congress MLA made the comments at an 2016 Eid celebration event organized by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political front of the terror-linked Islamist organization PFI (Popular Front of India). PFI has its roots in the now banned SIMI, and its cadre have been chargesheeted or convicted in at least 4 different terror cases apart from being accused in murders of several Hindu activists. A recent NIA probe concluded that “PFI had consistently been indulging in actions detrimental to national security”.

Zakir Naik is a radical Islamist preacher, who is said to be the world’s leading Salafi evangelist. He is the founder president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) based in Mumbai, and also the founder of ‘Peace TV’ channel. His preaching is currently banned in Bharat, Bangladesh, Canada and the United Kingdom. Several terrorists, such as 2006 Mumbai train & Dhaka cafe attackers, have been found to have been motivated by his speeches.

In November 2016, the central government had declared Naik’s IRF as an unlawful association under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Soon after, the NIA had registered a case against Zakir Naik, accusing him of having incited many persons to take up terror activities, and promoting enmity between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures. 4 properties in Mumbai belonging to him have been attached by NIA.

Here are is a sample of Zakir Naik’s preachings –

Believes it is ok to propagate Islam within non-Muslim countries, but dissemination of other religions must be forbidden in an Islamic state as ‘other faiths are incorrect’ & ‘Islam is the best religion because Quran says it.’

It is permissible to beat one’s wife “gently”

Condemns dancing and singing because they are prohibited in Islam 

Accepts chopping hands off for stealing – called for India to be ruled by Shariah law.

Recommended the death penalty for homosexuals and for apostasy from the faith.

But S Vijayadharani is only going down a path shown by her seniors and influential Lutyens’ intellectuals. Senior Congress & UPA leaders like Digvijay Singh, K Rahman  have openly come out in Zakir Naik’s support, while senior journalist Shekhar Gupta eulogized Naik as a ‘rock star of tele-evangelism’, ‘a preacher of modern Islam’, and wished him to ‘keep on growing in popularity’ during an interview.

This speech by the Congress MLA also shows a worrying trend of deepening ties between SDPI and a mainstream party like Congress in the south of the country, something which has serious implications for national integrity and security.


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