Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said that India will raise the issue of Zakir Naik's attendance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and that swift action will be taken, said an ANI report.
Puri's comments came at a time when Zakir Naik was invited to Qatar to give religious lectures throughout the FIFA World Cup tournament.
“I’m sure India took it up and will take it up. But the point is he’s a Malaysian national, you invite him somewhere, whether they knew I’ve no knowledge of that…” the Union minister told ANI in a statement.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Savio Rodrigues on Tuesday urged the government, the Indian Football Association, and Indians visiting the host country to boycott FIFA in response to Qatar's controversial invitation of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to the FIFA World Cup.
Rodrigues claimed in a statement that giving Naik a platform at a time when the world is fighting terrorism is equivalent to allowing a "terror sympathizer" to "spread hate."
In India, Zakir Naik is accused of making hateful statements and money laundering. The Home Ministry declared the Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association in March of this year and banned it for five years.
According to the MHA notification, Zakir Naik has been endorsing known terrorists, making his speeches objectionable.
According to the MHA notification, Zakir Naik continues to travel to Gulf countries to raise money, all of which is used solely for radicalising people, particularly Muslim youth. This evidence was presented to the tribunal by the Solicitor General.
Naik fled to Malaysia in 2016, just as the National Investigation Agency began an investigation into him.
Notably, the FIFA World Cup 2022 is held for the first time in the fourth quarter of a calendar year. The decision was made due to the extreme weather conditions in Qatar during the months of June and July, when the tournament is usually held.
In Qatar, 32 teams from five confederations will compete. During the course of 29 days, up to 64 matches will be played.
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