Qatar told India no invitation was sent to Zakir Naik for FIFA World Cup, says MEA

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Thursday that Qatar has told India that no invitation was extended to Zakir Naik to attend the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022, news agency ANI reported.

Naik, a controversial Islamic preacher and Indian fugitive, was purportedly invited by Qatar to attend the the FIFA World Cup.

Bagchi added that the issue of Zakir Naik being a “wanted” criminal in India has been raised with Qatar.

In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, accusing him of promoting religious hatred and unlawful activity. The following year, Naik sought asylum and moved to Malaysia. He was granted permanent residency there. However, Naik is currently among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.

In March this year, the Home Ministry declared Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years. India has also sent a request to Malaysia for his extradition.

Responding to media reports on Qatar’s purported invitation to Naik, Union Minister Hardeep Puri had said Tuesday that he was sure that India would convey its views on the matter in the “strongest possible terms” to the authorities concerned.

Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for hate speech.