Zakir Naik At FIFA World Cup! Who Is The “Banned” Islamic Preacher?

Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher and Indian exile, is all set to give a speech in Qatar as the FIFA World Cup gets underway. Notably, the host of Qatar’s state-run sports network Alkass, Faisal Alhajri, tweeted about Naik’s presence in the country. “Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik will deliver numerous religious speeches throughout the World Cup, according to Faisal Alhajri, a presenter for the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass, as quoted by Al Arabiya News on Twitter.

Who Is Zakir Naik?

Born on October 18, 1965, Zakir Abdul Karim Naik alias Zakir Naik is an Indian Muslim televangelist and public speaker who specialises in comparative religion. He founded and serves as president of both the Peace TV Network and the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). However, many of his controversial statements and speeches have always been viral across the internet. 

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Zakir Naik attended Kishinchand Chellaram College, pursued his medical education at Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, and then graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). 

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As per the information, he began his dawah work in 1991 and went on to form the United Islamic Aid and the Islamic International School in Mumbai, both of which offers scholarship to Muslim youth. Farhat Naik, Naik’s wife, is the head of the Islamic Research Foundation’s women’s division (IRF). He founded United Islamic Aid, which offers financial aid to Muslim youth from lower income families.

Controversies Linked To Zakir Naik:

Not only limited to controversial statements and speeches, notably, Zakir Naik was accused of money laundering by Indian officials in 2016 when he was visiting Malaysia; Naik did not return to India and instead became a citizen of Malaysia. The National Investigation Agency tried to issue an Interpol red alert for his arrest, however, it didn’t succeed due to insufficient evidence in the matter. Furthermore, India, Bangladesh, Canada, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom, all banned Peace TV.

Though Naik himself vehemently rejects terrorism, author Praveen Swami contends that some of Naik’s teachings are comparable to those of organisations that support violence. Moreover, Swami claims that Naik’s IRF has attracted individuals associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba and that his message has mesmerised violent Islamists. Swami also claims that his writings “help make sense of the motivations of Indian recruits to the jihad.”

A fatwa against Naik was issued in 2008 by Shahar Qazi Mufti Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali of Lucknow, who said that Naik had aided Osama bin Laden and that his teachings were not Islamic. Naik, however, asserts that his remarks were misrepresented, and many have pointed out that the lecture was given before the tragic events of 9/11. Moreover, Zakir Naik’s career revolves around a lot of controversies.

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