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Muslim televangelist Zakir Naik has been told he will be turned away if he tries to enter Canada, a Toronto imam said Tuesday. Banned from entering Britain last week, Naik is scheduled to headline the three-day Journey of Faith conference July 2-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
But over the weekend, a Canadian embassy official in New Delhi phoned Naik, who lives in Mumbai, to say he will be refused entry, said conference chairman Said Ragaeh.
At the same time, nothing was put in writing, Ragaeh said.
“We have no confirmation yet. No one has told us anything,” he said. “There is no file number, no official letter, nothing.”
On a Canadian visit last year, Naik received a five-year entry visa, which is still valid, said Ragaeh, who says they will continue to promote Naik as the conference headliner until he is given official notice of the ban. Last Friday, the new British Home Secretary Theresa May denied entry to Naik saying “numerous comments” of his amounted to “unacceptable behaviour.”
He had been quoted as saying: “If (Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden) is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him,” in a YouTube video titled “Zakir Naik — Specious explanation about bin Laden.” “If he is terrorizing the terrorists, if he is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist,” Naik says in the 2007 video.
In other videos, Naik advocates death to homosexuals and to Muslims who leave Islam. In another, he lays out rules on how a Muslim man can beat his wife.
Speaking at a news conference in India on Tuesday, Naik said he would appeal the decision of the British government by approaching the British high court.
His brother Naik Mohammad, told the Star that his brother had not been told that he had been banned from Canada. He added that any such ban would not be able to stand up to a legal challenge, because his quotes about terrorism were made 1996, long before bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 terror attacks.
“In modern democracies, you don’t pass judgment without hearing from the party,” said Mohammad.
Canadian immigration officials would not confirm if Naik has been denied entry into Canada. The Privacy Act prevents government officials from commenting.
Ragaeh said he knows Naik as a man of peace.
“If he did in fact say those comments, then he should not have done so,” he said.
Other Muslims lauded the ban.
“We do not want to see him in Canada,” said Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims Against Terrorism. “I am asking people not to blame Islam and Muslims. (Naik and others) are spreading their ideology, not Islam, under the disguise of Islam.”
Naik is considered one of the 100 most powerful Indians. His satellite television network, Peace TV, claims up to 50 million viewers in 125 countries.
Hindustan Times – HORROR Unfamiliar with city roads, was misled into sharing a tourist car ALL THREE ACCUSED ARE CAB DRIVERS FROM A VILLAGE ALONG THE MUMBAI-PUNE EXPRESSWAY
25-year-old woman who had come from the US in search of a job in Pune, where she want- ed to settle down with her soft- ware engineer-husband was gang raped by three men on Thursday night, police said.
The woman, an MBA in hos- pital management, got into a tourist car, thinking it was a share-taxi in which two men were fellow passengers.
Unfamiliar with Pune roads, she thought she was being driven to the area where she was to attend a function.
To her horror, she was taken to an isolated place in the city and raped by the passengers and the driver and dropped near her residence after midnight. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil said the police took the woman to a for a medical check-up, and later arrested two of the three cul- prits within hours.
Patil said the men were held on the basis of the descriptions the woman gave them, and leads provided by informers. A search is on for the driver. The duo, charged with abduction and rape, were produced before a city court on Friday and are in four days’ police custody.
(FT) CNN — The Indian economy will sweep aside the ill-effects of the global downturn to grow up to 8.75 percent in the coming fiscal year, the country’s finance ministry predicted on Thursday. The annual Economic Survey, one of New Delhi’s most important policy documents, forecast that Asia’s third largest economy would return in the fiscal year beginning in April to the high-growth trajectory that it enjoyed before the crisis.
But the report, led by Kaushik Basu, the government’s chief economic adviser, warned that double-digit food inflation was a "major concern” and urged serious policy initiatives to address faltering agricultural growth. Farm production fell 0.2 per cent this year in a country where more than 60 percent of the 1.2bn population earn their living from the rural economy.
The analysis of India’s economic performance came out a day before a crucial national budget expected to signal the withdrawal of fiscal stimulus measures as part of an effort to narrow the widest fiscal deficit for 20 years.
Pranab Mukherjee, the finance minister, said India had shaken off the "despondency and gloom” that had pervaded the economy a year ago as the global financial crisis was felt in large emerging markets. In the last quarter of the 2008/09 fiscal year, growth slumped to 5.8 percent from earlier highs of near 9 percent. Growth this year is estimated at about 7.5 percent.
"We began the fiscal year with a sense of uncertainty; we end it with confidence,” he said as the Economic Survey was presented in parliament.
The confidence in the domestic economy is in part based on a savings rate of 32.5 percent and an investment rate of 34.9 percent that has propelled India among the fastest growing nations.
The finance ministry has also taken satisfaction in India becoming the 10th largest gold holder with 557.7 tonnes of bullion.
Some economists have warned that India’s resilience to the global economic downturn should not lull policymakers into a sense that they need do nothing. They are urging the government to take steps to close a fiscal deficit running at 6.8 percent of gross domestic product and implement reform in the financial, health and education sectors and press ahead with infrastructure development.
"Complacency is our biggest foe,” said Suman Bery, director-general of the National Council for Applied Economic Research. "The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.”
The Economic Survey recommended that the government reform public spending, including shifting hefty state subsidies to a coupon system targeting the poor. It said a government panel had recommended capping total federal and state debt at 68 percent of GDP by 2014/15. The combined central and state debt is currently 80 percent of GDP.
Brian Jackson, senior emerging markets analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada, said that in spite of targets to cut deficits and debts, India was gambling on growing itself out of "fiscal purgatory”.
"Today’s Economic Survey mentions the possibility of India achieving double-digit growth rates in the years ahead but this is easier said than done, and if growth falls short then it will be much harder to get the fiscal numbers back in shape,” he said.
Mr Jackson also said he doubted that the budget would show a firm commitment to accelerating fiscal consolidation by withdrawing stimulus measures.