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Indian fugitive Zakir Naik to preach Islam at FIFA World Cup

Zakir Naik, a controversial Indian Islamic preacher who is banned in India, has been invited by Qatar to give religious sermons at the FIFA World Cup 2022. Naik, has been living in exile in Malaysia since 2017, as a runaway fugitive. He faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India.

Faisal Alhajri, a presenter at the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass tweeted that “Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is present in Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament”. Zain Khan, country’s media presenter and filmmaker also confirmed Naik’s presence in Qatar as an invited dignitary. He tweeted, “One of the most popular Islamic Scholars of our time Dr. Zakir Naik has reached #Qatar for the #FIFAWorldCup.”

India outlawed Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation year ago

Back in 2016, India outlawed Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). This was on the charges of encouraging and assisting the group’s followers in “promoting or attempting to promote feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.” This year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declared IRF as an unlawful association and outlawed it for five years. also read:-‘Google Doodle Celebrates Marie Tharp’ Why?

When did Naik came to the fame game

Naik shot to fame during the 1990s over his activities of da’wah which is an act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam through IRF. He is also the founder of the ‘comparative religion’ Peace TV. Reportedly, the channel has a reach of over 100 million viewers. Many of these viewers regard him as an exponent of the Salafi ,a reform moment within the Sunni community ideology.

Naik relocated to Malaysia, to evade the law. Though he has permanent residency in Malaysia, still the country banned Naik from giving speeches in the interests of “national security” back in 2020 itself.


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