Bangladesh has ordered the banning of an Islamic television channel following a deadly attack on a cafe in the capital, Dhaka, following reports that the station’s broadcasting may have played a role in inspiring the assailants.
Peace TV, a private channel founded by Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, was said to have inspired some of the attackers in their raid on the cafe, according to an intelligence report cited by local media.
“We will take administrative steps to ban Peace TV on Monday,” Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu told journalists after a counterterrorism meeting in Dhaka on Sunday.
The attack on the Holey Artisan Cafe in an upmarket Dhaka suburb was one of the deadliest in Bangladesh, with many of the hostages being hacked to death during a 12-hour siege.
The armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack – though Bangladeshi authorities deny this and insist that the violence was homegrown.
Local media reports said one of the five slain attackers was a follower of Naik on social media.
A multi-lingual broadcaster, Dubai-based Peace TV launched its Bengali service in 2011 in an effort to reach Bangla-speaking viewers around the world.
Authorities may also begin monitoring sermons given during Friday prayers to check whether any provocative lectures are delivered.
Last week, at least three people were killed, and nine others wounded when bombs were hurled near a huge Eid prayer meeting in northern Bangladesh, officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for that attack.
Both al-Qaeda and ISIL have made competing claims for a series of killings in Bangladesh during the past year – but the government disputes them, insisting that domestic groups are responsible for the attacks.