Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA), said on Thursday that Qatar has told India that Zakir Naik has not been invited to participate in the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup, ANI news agency reported.
Naik, a controversial Islamic preacher and Indian fugitive, is said to have been invited by Qatar to attend 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, the Indian Anti-Terrorism Service filed an official complaint against Naik, accusing him of promoting religious hatred and unlawful activities. The following year, Naik applied for asylum and moved to Malaysia. There he received permanent residence. However, Naik is currently one of the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
In March this year, the Interior Ministry declared the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) founded by Naik an unlawful association and banned it for five years. India has also sent a request to Malaysia for his extradition.
Qatar has told India no invitation has been issued to Zakir Naik to attend 2022 FIFA World Cup: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
— ANI (@ANI) Nov 24, 2022
Responding to media reports of Qatar’s alleged invitation to Naik, union minister Hardeep Puri said on Tuesday he was confident India would convey its views on the matter in the “strongest possible terms” to the concerned authorities.
Naik has been banned in the UK and Canada for hate speech.