IS threatens guru Ravi Shankar

IS threatens guru Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar greeting the crowd during his talk in Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang. IS purportedly sent a letter threatening to kill him.

KUALA LUMPUR - Police are investigating a letter purportedly sent by the Islamic State (IS), threatening to kill India's spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who was in Penang over the weekend.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that a letter was sent to the famed spiritual leader. Sources said police were trying to track the origin of the letter, which was posted locally to the office of Ravi Shankar's humanitarian NGO's Malaysian chapter in Shah Alam.

The letter, addressed to the manager of a Penang hotel where Ravi Shankar put up, featured the black flag of the IS and a picture of a beheaded man.

It is learnt that the letter warned the manager that his hotel would be "destroyed" if Ravi Shankar was allowed to "carry out his Hindu activities in Malaysia".

The letter also claimed that Ravi Shankar and his organisation, Art of Living Foundation, were "meddling in the Islamic affairs of Iran and Iraq" and converting Muslims in the Middle East.

"If he steps foot in Malaysia, your hotel and venues of his activities will be destroyed and many thousands will die for him. We don't want Ravi Shankar to step into a Muslim country," the letter read.

The Foundation aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems and violence.

In 1997, Ravi Shankar, 59, established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values NGO, to engage in relief work and rural development.

Penang CPO Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Abdul Rahim Hanafi said a report was lodged by the hotel and that the case has been classified under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation via anonymous communication.

The Times of India reported that the letter was addressed to the hotel general manager with copies sent to the director of the Art of Living and a senior staff of Ravi Shankar's, while the latter was in Cambodia.

"The authorities have immediately notified the local authorities. We also contacted the Indian High Commission and conducted an investigation to trace the source of the letter," an aide was reported to have said.

When contacted, an Art of Living representative here said Ravi Shankar was in Penang on Saturday for a yoga festival and addressed about 70,000 people at the Batu Kawan Stadium in a talk titled "Discourse, Music and Meditation". They confirmed that Ravi Shankar left for Singapore after a symposium yesterday morning.

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