Zakir Naik, controversial cleric to preach during FIFA World Cup?

Media reports suggest that India born Naik, booked for inciteful speech is one of the religious preachers chosen by organisers

zakir naik

India born, controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who has been charged in India with serious provisions of hate speech, promoting enmity between groups and money laundering –and has fled the country– is, according to media reports, going to preach in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA world cup.

He has already arrived in Qatar, Mint reported, and will be delivering religious lectures throughout the competition. What the purposes behind these religions sermons during a FIFA world cup are, is not publicly known.

Naik left India in 2016, after his organisation Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was banned. He  was directly named in an FIR. In 2019. Thereafter, he was also banned from delivering public speeches in Malaysia, where he had been living after leaving India. Besides India, his Peace TV network is also banned in Bangladesh, Canada, Sri Lanka and the UK, The Tribune reported.

“Naik has also been further inspiring the Muslim youth and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts,” the Ministry of Home Affairs notification had said while banning IRF. Last week, the ban was extended for another five years.

In another notification, the Union home ministry said that the IRF has been indulging in “activities which are prejudicial to the security of the country and have the potential of disturbing peace and communal harmony and disrupting the secular fabric of the country.”

The Indian Union government has claimed that the IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and president, Zakir Abdul Karim Naik alias Zakir Naik, has “guilty of”  encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country.

Naik’s speech is attributed to be the one to have instigated the 2016 Dhaka bombing which killed 20 and the Easter 2019 bombing in Sri Lanka that killed over 250, according to The Tribune.

The news of Naik’s presence at the football world cup was spread through social media, according to NDTV. “Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is present in Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament,” Al Arabiya News quoted Faisal Alhajri, a presenter at the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass, as saying on Twitter on Saturday.

The FIFA world cup began in Qatar on Monday.


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