Zakir Naik’s Influence: Professor’s Conversion to Mohammed Saleem Raises Questions

Bhubaneswar: In a captivating turn of events, Saurabh, a professor, found himself at the centre of controversy as allegations emerged suggesting his conversion to Islam and adoption of the name Mohammed Saleem. Reportedly influenced by an individual associated with Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik, Saurabh’s conversion has raised eyebrows.

Recently, Mohammed Saleem was among a group of 16 individuals apprehended in Bhopal and Hyderabad under suspicion of having connections with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), an extremist organization, and engaging in the planning of potential terrorist activities.

However, Saurabh’s wife, Mansi, who now goes by the name Rahila, has refuted her father-in-law’s claim that Saurabh was coerced into converting to Islam. Rahila argues that religious conversion is a personal choice and should not be blamed on external pressure. She also questions how someone who did not pressure his own wife into converting could be accused of forcing others to convert.

Rahila dismisses her father-in-law’s allegations that Saurabh planned to go to Syria, pointing out that he didn’t even have a passport. She believes her in-laws are politicizing the situation, possibly due to a viral video involving Saurabh a few months ago.

Saurabh’s father, Ashok Jain Raj Vaidya, stated that his son used to attend RSS shakhas (daily gatherings) until Class 12. After completing his PhD and becoming a professor in Bhopal, Saurabh allegedly came into contact with a professor named Kamaal, who began influencing him towards Islam.

Ashok Raj Vaidya claims that Saurabh started distancing himself from family events and religious festivities around 2011. He noticed changes in Saurabh’s behaviour and arguments, as well as his wife’s adoption of Islamic attire. Vaidya tried to reason with Saurabh but eventually asked him to leave their house. He even reported the matter to the police, but they deemed Saurabh’s conversion to be voluntary.

According to Vaidya, Saurabh watched speeches by Zakir Naik and possessed Islamic books. He also attended Islamic events and changed his sons’ names to Yusuf and Ismail.

Despite his father’s belief that Saurabh is not involved in terrorism, Vaidya stated that if Saurabh does not renounce Islam, he will not be welcomed back into their home.

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