New Delhi: Responding to reports of Qatar inviting controversial Islamic preacher and Indian fugitive Zakir Naik to the FIFA World Cup, Union Minister Hardeep Puri said he was sure that India would convey its views on the matter in the “strongest possible terms” to the authorities concerned.
When asked if India will protest this invite, Puri said, “I am sure India took it up and will take it up. But the point is he is a Malaysian national and if he is invited somewhere… whether they knew, I have no knowledge of that. I have as much access to information as you have.”
“We (India) have our views on him and I am sure they will be conveyed in the strongest possible terms to the concerned authorities,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Savio Rodrigues appealed to the Centre, Indian Football Association and Indians travelling to Qatar to boycott FIFA. In a video tweeted by Rodrigues, he said, “The 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 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,” he said.
In November 2016, India’s counterterrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, accusing him of promoting religious hatred and unlawful activity. The following year, Naik sought asylum and moved to Malaysia. He was granted permanent residency there. Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech against other religions. He is among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.