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Qatar says no invitation extended to Zakir Naik for FIFA World Cup: MEA

Indian fugitive preacher Zakir Naik faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India.

Qatar says no invitation extended to Zakir Naik for FIFA World Cup: MEA

New Delhi: Qatar has denied giving any invitation to Zakir Naik amid reports of controversial Islamic preacher giving religious lectures at the FIFA World Cup. Indian fugitive preacher Zakir Naik faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India. Qatar has conveyed that no invitation was extended to Indian fugitive Zakir Naik to attend the FIFA World Cup and his being wanted in India has been raised with Qatar government. Addressing the weekly media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokers person, Arindam Bagchi said, "The issue of Zakir Naik being wanted has been raised with Qatar. Qatar has told India that no invitation was extended to Zakir Naik to attend the FIFA World Cup 2022." 

Some media reports had said that Qatar, which is hosting the FIFA World Cup, has invited Zakir Naik to deliver Islamic sermons.Bagchi said the issue of Zakir Naik`s extradition has also been raised with the Malaysian government. Naik fled to Malaysia in 2016, just before the National Investigation Agency started a probe against him.

Also Read: BJP leader calls for FIFA World Cup boycott over Qatar's invite to Zakir Naik

Arindam Bagchi said India will make every effort to make Naik face the law and continue with its efforts for his extradition. Bagchi said the issue was not raised by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar during his visit to Qatar to attend the inaugural ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, indicating that it was brought up through diplomatic channels. He said Naik is an accused in India and has been declared as an absconder.

"We will continue with our efforts to get him back separately," he said.
Bagchi said India has raised the issue of Naik's extradition with the Malaysian authorities and would continue to take every step to make him face the law here.

Zakir Naik faces charges of money laundering and hate speeches in India. Earlier in March, Home Ministry had declared Zakir Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years.

The MHA notification stated that the speeches of Zakir Naik, founder of the IRF, were objectionable as he has been extolling known terrorists.

(With agency inputs)

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