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No official FIFA World Cup invite to Zakir Naik, Qatar tells India: Sources

Qatar has called the earlier reports deliberate “disinformation” being spread by third countries to adversely impact India-Qatar bilateral relations.

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Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik has been living in exile in Malaysia since 2017 as a runaway fugitive

By Geeta Mohan: No official invitation was extended to fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to attend the opening of the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar conveyed to India through diplomatic channels, sources told India Today.

According to sources, Qatar has called the earlier reports deliberate “disinformation” being spread by third countries to adversely impact India-Qatar bilateral relations.

The statement came after New Delhi told Doha that it would be forced to call off Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar’s visit to the FIFA World Cup inauguration if Islamist Zakir Naik is formally invited to watch the grand inauguration of the event from the VVIP box.

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Controversial televangelist Zakir Naik faces multiple cases of money laundering and hate speech in India and his organization Islamic Research Foundation is banned in the country. Naik is also accused of encouraging and assisting IRF’s followers in “promoting or attempting to promote feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.”

One of the charges against Naik is that he was involved in forceful conversions. Based on evidence, a chargesheet was filed against him for converting people of other religions to Islam.

Zakir Naik has been living in exile in Malaysia since 2017 as a runaway fugitive after India pressed money laundering charges against him.

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Even though Naik has permanent residency in Malaysia, he was banned from giving speeches in the country in 2020 in the interests of “national security”.

He had been charged with making inflammatory speeches and questioned by local police over his intent to provoke a breach in peace by making remarks about Hindu and Chinese communities living in the Muslim-majority nation.

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