Official of Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation arrested for links with Islamic State

Kochi: Kerala Police on Monday claimed Arshi Qureshi, Guest Relations officer of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, who was arrested from Mumbai last week in connection with a missing Kerala woman, has links with terror outfit Islamic State.

Zakir Naik, a Mumbai-based televangelist, runs the foundation.

File photo of Kerala police. Getty Images

File photo of Kerala police. Getty Images

In a report filed before the District and Sessions Court seeking police custody of Qureshi and Rizvan Khan, who was also held from Mumbai last week, police claimed both had facilitated recruitment of Merin alias Mariam, who is missing along with her husband Bestin Vincent alias Yahia from the state, to IS.

While Qureshi has been made first accused, Bestin Vincent is the second accused and Rizvan Khan the third accused in the
missing case.

Both Qureshi and Rizvan Khan were sent to 14 day police custody by the court.

Police claimed Qureshi and Bestin Vincent had jointly hatched a plan to traffick Merin to Mumbai to convert her to Islam from Christianity and recruit her to IS to carry out terror activities both inside and outside the country.

The religious conversion of Merin and her marriage with Yahia was facilitated by Rizvan Khan, police said. Police claimed it had proof that the accused had facilitated religious conversion of Merin and others through Juma Masjid of Bombay Trust, from a raid conducted at the residence of Qureshi.

"Aarshi Qureshi has been working as the Guest Relations Officer of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. A thorough probe is required to find out whether this organisation has any role in the case," the report said.

Kerala police had traced Qureshi to Mumbai following a complaint lodged in Kochi by the brother of a young woman, who is suspected to have joined IS along with her husband.

Ebin Jacob (25), brother of Merin who is missing along with her husband Bestin Vincent from Kerala, had told police in Kochi that there was an attempt to forcibly convert him to Islam and make him join IS, and that Bestin and Qureshi were behind it.

Based on this, Kerala Police slapped charges under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on the duo and booked them under sections of the IPC.

Both Qureshi and Rizwan Khan, arrested by Kerala Police and aided by Maharashtra Police in two separate operations last week, were brought back on Sunday by air under tight security for questioning.

While Qureshi was arrested on 21 July, Khan was picked up from his residence at Kalyan in Thane district on Friday night.