Arshid Qureshi is the public relations manager with the Islamic Research Foundation. He is accused of having converted 15 young people of Kerala to Islam, who then disappeared from home to fight with the Islamic State. Circle tightening around Salafi preacher Zakir Naik, after ban on his television programs in Bangladesh.
Mumbai (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Kerala police, in conjunction with the Maharashtra anti-terrorism agency, have arrested Arshid Qureshi, an employee of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) of the television preacher Zakir Naik. The man is accused of having radicalized and recruited at least 15 young people who have since disappeared from Kerala to join the militants of the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, the controversial Islamic preacher accused of having influenced the young people who carried out the Dhaka massacre, continues to declare his innocence. He is in Saudi Arabia, and made it known that he will not return to India until at least next year.
Intelligence agencies have begun to tighten the circle around Naik. Qureshi's arrest took place in the early hours of yesterday but the news was released only today. The man was taken from his apartment in Nerul, residential area of Navi Mumbai, in Maharashtra. Yesterday he appeared before a judge, who set his custody for four days. He will be heard by the authorities of Maharashtra and then transferred to Kerala.
Since 2004 he has managed the public relations of the Naik Foundation, which is based in Mumbai. The investigations against him date to last month in Kerala, after the complaint of the parents of 15 young people who have disappeared. They accuse him of having converted and their children to Islam to have them recruited to fight for the Caliphate.
The preaching of Zakir Naik, among the best known television faces in South Asia and the Middle East, are being studied by investigators both in India and in neighboring countries. The Bangladeshi authorities have established a direct link between him and one of the bombers of the Holey Artisan Bakery Cafe in Dhaka. The Bangladeshi government has banned his "Peace TV channel", through which he spreads the most radical ideas of Salafi Islam. The leadership of the Catholic Church of Pakistan demanded that Islamabad must do likewise with the Urdu-language broadcasts.