Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Savio Rodrigues on Tuesday appealed to the government, Indian Football Associations and Indians travelling to Qatar to boycott the FIFA World Cup 2022. This comes after an invitation was sent to fugitive preacher Zakir Naik to deliver multiple lectures on Islam during the ongoing FIFA World Cup.
Naik, who faces multiple charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, is expected to give multiple religious lectures throughout the tournament. The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup took place in Qatar on November 20, Sunday, and the football tournament will run up to December 18.
Rodrigues took to the microblogging platform Twitter to urge Indians to boycott FIFA World Cup 2022. He stated that Naik is a "terror sympathiser" and an "Indian fugitive wanted on money-laundering and hate speeches charges" and added that Naik is instrumental in spreading Islamic radicalism and hate leading to terror.
"Islamic values are not universal. Humanity is the only universal value. While I respect the laws of Qatar, Qatar must respect our laws and not give a platform to terror sympathisers like Dr Zakir Naik, a fugitive from India and hate preacher. He is no less than a terrorist," Rodrigues said on Twitter.
Earlier in March, the Home Ministry had declared Zakir Naik-founded organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years. India banned Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation, accusing him of encouraging and assisting its followers in “promoting or attempting to promote feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.”
Zakir Naik has been living in exile in Malaysia since 2017.
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