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‘He is wanted’: India raises Zakir Naik FIFA invite issue with Qatar


Amid uproar over an invitation to fugitive Zakir Naik to take part in the FIFA World Cup in Doha, India has raised the issue with Qatar, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi informed.

Earlier Union Minister Hardeep Puri had said, "India would convey its views on the matter in the 'strongest possible terms' to the authorities concerned." It was reported that Qatar has officially invited Zakir Naik to deliver Islamic sermons at FIFA. A section of the ruling BJP back home had called for a boycott of FIFA. However, Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhakar did attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

Naik, a televangelist lives in Malaysia, where he moved from India in 2016 and he reportedly got permanent residency there. India is seeking his extradition.

Zakir Naik is a wanted man in India and faces charges of spreading hate in India and also money laundering.

Ministry of Home Affairs declared Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation unlawful last year. Naik is accused of promoting hate, and disharmony, and his speeches are seen as objectionable as he has been extolling known terrorists promoting conversion and terrorism.

The statement comes after reports said Qatar has informed India through diplomatic channels that Naik has not been officially invited to attend the opening ceremony of FIFA 2022. Qatar reportedly said that deliberate ‘disinformation’ was being spread by third countries to spoil India-Qatar ties.

Naik, a televangelist who is facing multiple cases in India, reportedly left the country in 2016 and moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. India had sent a request to Malaysia for his extradition.

Zakir Naik is already banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech against other religions.

The government had extended ban on Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in India by five years in 2021. The IRF was first declared an unlawful organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) by the central government on November 17, 2016.

The IRF has been indulging in activities which are prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country, the Union Home Ministry had said in a notification while extending the ban on IRF.