Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May has banned controversial Islamic scholar Zakir Naik from entering the United Kingdom.
May banned the entry of the Indian scholar on the grounds of his 'unacceptable behaviour'. The renowned Islamic scholar was scheduled to address lectures at Wembley Arena and Sheffield.
Dr Naik is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation and he owns a TV channel which operates from Mumbai, his hometown.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the home secretary has the authority to exclude or deport an individual if he/she is responsible for writing material that justifies or glorifies terrorist violence or seeks to encourage terror acts.
According to a list published by The Indian Express in 2009, Dr Naik was ranked 82nd among the top 100 most powerful men in India. He was also found to be the third most powerful spiritual leader in India, beaten only by Baba Ramdev and Shri Shri Ravi Shankar.
The Islamic scholar, who holds a MBBS degree, has repeatedly come under criticism for his preachings. The powerful Darul Uloom Deoband seminary has also issued a fatwa against him, urging Muslims against believing his speeches.
Dr Naik has made several alleged inflammatory comments, including suggesting that then US President George W Bush orchestrated the 9/11 terror strike to get an excuse to attack oil-rich nations.
Dr Naik has reportedly cited the Koran and branded Jews as the 'staunchest enemy' of Muslims.
He has also been accused of criticising other religions while upholding the values of Islam.
The popular scholar allegedly supported Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, saying, "If he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him."
Reiterating his stance on every Muslim becoming a terrorist, he allegedly said, "If he is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist."
The paper reports that Dr Naik allegedly compared 'western women' to prostitutes who are 'mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers'.
He reportedly claimed that the revealing clothes worn by western women make them more susceptible to rape.
Image: Dr Zakir Naik | Photograph: Reuters