Bangladesh bans Peace TV, ‘provocative’ television channel

DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 11 (UPI) — Bangladesh stopped broadcasts of the television network Peace TV and banned its online presence in the country Monday, amid allegations it radicalizes the country’s youth.

Peace TV, broadcast from Dubai in several languages, is led by Dr. Zakir Naik and owned by his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. His sermons allegedly inspired two terrorist attacks in the country in which 25 people died, a government official said.

“Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities, as his lectures appeared provocative,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said of Naik.

Prior to the ban, Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu told the news website, “I can tell you we have been receiving complaints about the provocative contents of his speeches.

“Peace TV is not consistent with Muslim society, the Koran, Sunnah, Hadith, Bangladesh’s Constitution, our culture, customs and rituals.”

The Cabinet Committee on Law and Order enacted the ban Monday by denying approval of the channel’s downlink to cable companies on Bangladeshi soil. Hours later the committee also blocked Peace TV’s website.

Gunmen killed 22 people in Dhaka in a late-night attack on a bakery earlier this month. Days later, four people died when militants attacked a police checkpoint at the country’s largest Eid celebration, marking the end of Ramadan. Naik has denied that his preaching inspired the attackers, but he has been banned from entering Britain and Canada for “unacceptable behavior,” and Malaysia has banned his lectures.

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