'Boycott FIFA World Cup': BJP Leader Slams Qatar's Invite To Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

The BJP leader appealed to the government, Indian Football Associations and Indians travelling to the host nation to boycott the sporting event.

'Boycott FIFA World Cup': BJP Leader Slams Qatar's Invite To Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik
Islamic preacher Zakir Naik is seen during the Kuala Lumpur Summit on December 19, 2019. (Image: REUTERS)

BJP spokesperson Savio Rodrigues called for boycotting the FIFA World Cup after Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is banned in India, was invited to Qatar for talks. The BJP leader appealed to the government, Indian Football Associations and Indians travelling to the host nation to boycott the sporting event.

Indian fugitive Zakir Naik was reportedly invited by Qatar to give lectures on Islam amid the FIFA World Cup. Rodrigues claimed in a statement that giving Naik a platform at a time when the world is fighting terrorism is equivalent to giving a "terror sympathiser" permission to "spread hate".

"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.

The BJP leader appealed to the people of the country and also the people from abroad who are victims of terrorism to boycott the World Cup event "in solidarity with the global fight against terrorism".

Alleging that Naik has been instrumental in spreading "Islamic radicalism and hate in India", Rodrigues said that he "is no less than a terrorist himself".

"Zakir Naik is a wanted man under Indian law. He is charged with money-laundering crimes and hate speeches. He is a terror sympathiser. 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 added.

Earlier in March this year, Home Ministry had declared Zakir Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years.

"Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is present in Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament," Al Arabiya News quoted Faisal Alhajri, a presenter at the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass, as saying on Twitter on Saturday.

The MHA notification stated that the speeches of Zakir Naik, founder of the IRF, were objectionable as he has been extolling known terrorists.

The notification further stated that the IRF founder has also been promoting forcible conversion of the youth to Islam, justifying the suicide bombings, and posting objectionable comments against Hindus, Hindu Gods and other religions, which are derogatory to other religions.

"Naik has also been further inspiring the Muslim youth and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts," the notification added. It also said that unlawful activities of IRF, its members, as well as sympathizers were noticed in Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Odisha.

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