Two of the seven Bangladeshi terrorists who murdered 20 innocent hostages in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka were followers of Mumbai-based Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, Bengaluru-based Islamic State (ISIS) group loyalist Mehdi Masroor Biswas and radical British cleric Anjem Choudary.
Awami League leader's son Rohan Imtiaz propagated Naik's Peace TV rants on social networking site Facebook "urging all Muslims to be terrorists", Zee News reported citing Daily Star. Naik has a huge following in Bangladesh through Peace TV.
Fifty-year-old Naik is the founder of the Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai and has often invited controversy due to his hate for all other religions and also because he refused to call Osama Bin Laden a terrorist. The United Kingdom, Canada and Malaysia have forbidden him from setting foot on their territory.
At a press conference in 2010, when he was asked why Britain had banned him from their country, he had replied that it was due to his exhortation to all Muslims to become terrorists.
"I tell Muslims that every Muslim should be a terrorist. Terrorist means a person who terrorises. When a robber sees a policeman, he is terrified. So for a robber, a policeman is a terrorist. So in this context every Muslim should be a terrorist to the robber," he was quoted by the channel as saying.
Naik is currently in Saudi Arabia for 'umrah' (mini Hajj), the Times of India reported. Canada and Malaysia have banned him from their countries because he advocated Salafist Islam - a transnational religious-political ideology that is based on "physical" jihadism.
Twenty two-year-old Nibras Islam, the second gunman, was inspired by Bengaluru-based Islamic State (ISIS) group loyalist Mehdi Masroor Biswas and British radical cleric Anjem Choudary and also followed them on Twitter, according to the Hindu.
Biswas, who had been arrested in December 2014 after his Twitter handle Shami Witness was investigated, is facing trial in India for propagating ISIS agendas. He was arrested on charges of operating the "single most influential pro-ISIS Twitter account", Zee News reported citing Daily Star.
Choudary, 49-year-old British citizen of Pakistani origin, is facing trial in England on charges of terrorism.