The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) has condemned the media trial of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, saying nobody could be pronounced guilty unless the court gives its judgment.
This is the first time the party has reacted since the row following reports that some of those involved in the Dhaka terror attack were inspired by him.
While MIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has not yet reacted, he let his party's Maharashtra unit issue a statement about the Mumbai-based preacher.
MIM's Syed Imtiaz Jaleel, who is a member of Maharashtra assembly from Aurangabad (Central), said that the party condemns media trial of Naik, "a specialist in comparative religions".
The legislator pointed out that under the Indian Constitution, an individual can practice, profess and propagate his religion without hurting the religious sentiments of other religions.
"By hounding Zakir Naik, the media, particularly some national television channels have already pronounced their judgment even when a formal case is yet to be registered against him. On mere heresay, the media cannot pronounce anybody as a supporter of terrorism," said Jaleel while calling for an end to the trial by media.
The legislator said if any individual break the rule of the land, the law should take its own course.
"But ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre and in Maharashtra, the general trend is that the investigation agencies charge someone for wrongdoing and the media pronounces the accused as guilty even before the court delivers its judgment. This poses a great threat to social fabric and democratic setup of the country and could prove detrimental to communal harmony," the MIM leader said.
He said Naik is a well known specialist who has been delivering lectures on comparative studies of different religions. He noted that Zakir commands a following among Muslims but there are many others in the community who do not concur with his views. "Islam is a very liberal religion and there may be differences of opinions and views about certain rituals but in the end every Muslim follows one Allah, one prophet and one Quran," he added.
The MIM leader pointed out that all Muslim leaders and ulemas have consistently condemned the IS and termed it as a threat to mankind. He said both IS of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and Al Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden are evil forces responsible for killing of countless Muslims and non-Muslims.