On January 24, 2007 a charitable company named Islamic Research Foundation International was registered in London. Among other things, the purpose of this charity was to encourage religious tolerance and harmony, prevention of drugs and alcohol related abuses and helping the victims of terrorism. Dr Zakir Naik, the controversial preacher was the founding director of this charity. A series of documents in possession of India Today throw a light on how Naik collected a large amount of money in the name of charity and later diverted it to his controversial propaganda channel Peace TV.
The controversial TV channel has often been accused of broadcasting extremely objectionable content in India and abroad. Millions of pounds of money has been collected in the name of UK based charity by Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation International, which now operates out of 48, Calthorpe Road, Edbaston.
The private limited company, which acted as a charity organisation, was incorporated in January 2007 which has Dr Naik as its director. Apart from “advancement of faith and religious practices of Islam” the objectives of this charity was promotion of education, relief work during natural disasters and ironically securing tolerance, harmony and peace between Muslims and non-Muslims. The charity also intended to help the victims of any form of terrorism, as per these documents. The balance sheet of the charity however tells a different story altogether, as majority of this charity money was funnelled directly into Naik’s Peace TV.
As per documents, during the year 2015-16 IRF, International received 972,490 GBP as voluntary income out of which 789,490 GBP were spent as “Charitable activities”. Most important point here is that a total of 771,218 pounds (more than 97 per cent of this charitable money) was paid to Peace TV. This amount is about 79 per cent of total income received by the charity during the year.
The pattern deepens in the previous year, where Naik’s charity transferred 91% of its total incoming funds to Peace TV in 2014.
Documents reveal that IRF International diverted around 780 million Rupees (around 9 million GBPs) to Naik’s Peace TV over a period of seven years. The same amount also constituted the majority of “charitable activities” of the organisation and the charity showed no other major expenditure apart from governance costs and these payments made to Peace TV. It remains unclear if the donors of the charity ever knew that most part of their charity money was being used to fund the a hate platform such as Peace TV which has been officially banned in several countries including India.