New Delhi, Nov 23: Qatar, on Wednesday, informed the government of India through diplomatic channels that self-exiled multi-religion scholar Dr Zakir Naik was not officially invited to attend the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup held in Doha on November 20, 2022. It added that deliberate "disinformation" was being spread by third countries to spoil India-Qatar ties.
It is to be noted that Dr Naik, who claims that he was targeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government in India for communal and political reasons, is expected to give multiple religious lectures throughout the FIFA World Cup tournament.
On Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Savio Rodrigues appealed to the government, Indian Football Associations and Indians travelling to Qatar to boycott the FIFA World Cup 2022. Rodrigues took to the microblogging platform Twitter to urge Indians to boycott FIFA World Cup 2022.
The BJP leader claimed that Dr Naik is a "terror sympathiser" and an "Indian fugitive wanted on money-laundering and hate speeches charges" and added that Dr Naik is instrumental in spreading “Islamic radicalism” and hate leading to terror.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri also said on Tuesday that India will raise the issue of Dr Zakir Naik's attendance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and that swift action will be taken.
Dr Zakir Naik, a physician-turned-preacher reportedly left India in 2016 and moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. Dr Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for political reasons.