After an invitation to Islamic preacher and fugitive Dr Zakir Naik to FIFA by Qatar, Savio Rodrigues from BJP wants India to boycott FIFA
BJP spokesperson Savio Rodrigues has asked the Indian government, Indian Football Associations, Indians in Qatar, and those travelling to the ME nation to boycott the FIFA World Cup underway following an invitation to controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik by the Arab country.
Naik, an Indian fugitive, has reportedly been invited by Qatar to deliver lectures on Islam during the ongoing event.
“Dr Zakir Naik is a wanted man under Indian law. He is charged with money-laundering crimes and hate speeches. He is a terrorist sympathizer. In fact, he is no less than a terrorist himself. He has openly supported terrorist Osama Bin Laden and has been instrumental in spreading Islamic radicalism and hate in India,” Rodrigues said in a statement.
“FIFA World Cup is a global event. People from all over the world come to witness this spectacular sport and also millions watch it on TV and the Internet. “Giving a platform to Dr Zakir Naik at a time when the world is fighting global terrorism is to give a platform to a terrorist to spread his radicalism and hate.
Not only people in India but people from other countries who are victims of terrorism must boycott FIFA World Cup in solidarity with the global fight against terrorism,” Rodrigues said. In 2016, India outlawed Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) on the grounds that he had encouraged and assisted the group’s members in attempting to spread animosity, hatred, or other negative sentiments among various religious communities and groups.
Who is Zakir Naik
After leaving India, Naik reportedly relocated to Malaysia, but he is banned from giving public speeches since 2019 due to his controversial inciting statements.
1) India: Accused of money laundering. Many arrested for ISIS links got inspired by Naik
2) Sri Lanka: Hashim (leader of NTJ– group behind the Easter bombings) praised Naik
3) Bangladesh: 2016 Dhaka attack terrorists inspired by Naik. It is believed he inspired the attacks.
The provocateur preacher’s presence in Qatar during the World Cup comes amid heavy criticism against the host country over its decisions to impose religious restrictions on visitors including a last-minute ban on most alcohol sales at the matches.
Naik, who is often labeled a “hate preacher” by the media, has been accused of promoting a radical version of Islam that endorses terrorism and discrimination against other religious groups. He reaches a massive global audience of around 200 million people via Peace TV, a satellite television network he started that is based in Dubai. The channel has been banned from a number of countries and Naik himself has been banned from entering the UK and Canada over hate speech concerns.
In Malaysia, Naik has been banned from public speaking since 2019 after he gave a contentious speech in which he responded to calls that he leave the country by saying that Chinese Malaysians were also “guests” in the country and that if guests like him were being asked to leave for their divisive views, the older “guests” should leave first.
The Indian government has made attempts to extradite Naik from Malaysia to face criminal charges of money laundering, but these requests were rebuffed by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Some analysts believe that Mahathir opposed India’s requests as he was concerned that extraditing Naik would be used to further portray his Pakatan Harapan coalition as anti-Muslim. Some reports allege that it was Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) officials who persuaded Mahathir not to allow Naik’s extradition. PAS officials have strongly defended Naik over his past controversial statements.
PAS was one of the big winners in the national election in Malaysia, winning 49 seats in parliament compared to the 18 it won in 2018. It is expected to play a powerful role in the country’s administration if the Perikatan Nasional coalition gets majority support to form a government.