naik: India takes note of Doha hosting Zakir Naik for Fifa World Cup


Even though India was among the Qatar Emir’s special invitees for the World Cup inauguration on Sunday, Doha’s hosting of fugitive televangelist Zakir Naik has created discomfort for New Delhi, which has taken note of the development.

Zakir Naik is wanted in India and Bangladesh for ‘inciting hate and extremism’. He is accused of ‘promoting enmity among religious groups and inciting youths to commit terrorist acts’.

Qatar had invited Naik, who fled India to live in Malaysia as permanent resident, to give lectures during the Fifa World Cup. Earlier, when Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu visited Doha in June, Qatar created a controversy by summoning the Indian envoy to protest BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s remarks on the prophet.

Naik was banned from delivering speeches in Malaysia on accusations of hate speeches, subversion and money laundering. Besides India, his Peace TV network is also banned in Bangladesh, Canada, Sri Lanka and the UK. Naik’s accused of influencing through his speeches the perpetrators of the 2016 Dhaka bombing that killed 20, including 17 foreigners, and the much more devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 250 in 2019. Some who joined the ISIS and were later apprehended confessed that the turning point was their meeting with Naik.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar was in Qatar at the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of Qatar, for the World Cup inauguration on Sunday evening. He attended the opening ceremony and met a cross-section of Indian community on Monday. He was warmly welcomed on arrival by a member of the Qatari royal family, Minister of State HE Sheikh Fahad bin Faisal Al-Thani at the airport, according to a MEA statement.

Incidentally, India is hosting UAE foreign minister on Monday and Tuesday to expand strategic ties. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on an official visit.


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