Qatar has invited Zakir Naik, a controversial Indian Islamic preacher who faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, to give religious lectures ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022, according to a report by Alarabia news.
The report quotes Faisal Alhajri, a presenter at the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass, who in a twitter post wrote, “Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is present in Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament.”
In late 2016, 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, as a runaway fugitive, after the Indian government pressed charges against him over money laundering.
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.