Bangladesh has deported the Canadian Islamic scholar Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips a day after he landed in Dhaka to deliver a series of lectures here, immigration sources have said.
Philips had arrived on Tuesday and was sent back on Wednesday afternoon, said a Special Branch (SB) official who works with immigration.
On Tuesday evening, government officials told him at a Dhaka hotel, where he had checked in, that he had to leave the country.
It was not clear on what grounds the 68-year-old Jamaica-born preacher, who had been in the country twice earlier to deliver lectures, was deported. However, online media reports suggest that he was suspected to be a terrorist and co-conspirator in many western countries.
Bilal Philips, who studied in Saudi Arabia and is currently living in Qatar, was invited to Bangladesh by Sean Academy, a sister concern of Islamic Online University, a global institution founded by him.
Sharif Abu Hayat, manager at Sean Academy, said he had arrived in the country to deliver five lectures on education-related matters in Dhaka and Chittagong. “He came to the country using on-arrival visa …,” said Hayat.
Philips is banned in the US, the UK, Germany and Australia for his alleged link with terrorism and seeming to condone suicide bombers, according to media reports.
A regular preacher on Peace TV, Bilal Philips was deported from Kenya on security concerns in 2012.
Philips was supposed to give two lectures on “The Purification of the Wealth” and “The Nation United” at the capital’s Institute of Diploma Engineers on June 21.
Another lecture was supposed to be delivered at Kisholoy Community Centre in Chittagong on “Roots of Civilisation” on June 23.
The next day, a lecture on “The One” at the United International University (UIU) and the fifth lecture were to be held at Emmanuel’s Banquet Hall in Jigatola on June 25.
He was supposed to leave for Malaysia to join a conference there, said Hayat.
Bilal Philips’ official website suggests he was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he converted to Islam in 1972.
He is imam and khateeb at Abu Hurairah Centre, where he teaches five free university-level classes and counsels Muslim families.
Asked about the deportation, State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan said some foreigners were deported but he was not aware whether Philips was among them.