Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Responding to reports of Qatar inviting controversial Islamic preacher and Indian fugitive Zakir Naik to the FIFA World Cup, Union Minister Hardeep Puri said that India would convey its views on the matter in the ‘strongest possible terms’ to the authorities concerned.

India is trending #boycottqatar2022 on Twitter after the host country invited Naik to deliver religious sermons at the World Cup events. A large number of Indians are upset with Qatar for Naik who is accused of hate speech.

Indian netizens have appealed to the Narendra Modi government to summon Qatari envoy, just like Qatar did when Nupur Sharma insulted Prophet Muhammad, earlier this year. Qatar is also facing backlash over the deaths of hundreds of migrant labourers during world cup preparations.

Naik, who is currently in exile in Malaysia since 2017, is banned in India. He is known for his radical sermons, and is accused of forcible conversions, justifying suicide bombings and posting objectionable comments against Hindu deities.

Earlier in March, Home Ministry had declared Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years. The MHA notification stated that the speeches of Naik were objectionable as he has been extolling known terrorists.