The invitation extended to fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to attend the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has raised several eyebrows, as he has previously stated that football is ‘haram’ in Islam.

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According to Al Arabiya News, Zakir Naik has been invited to the FIFA World Cup to give religious lectures throughout the tournament. Meanwhile an old video of Naik has resurfaced online and gone viral on social media. In the viral video, he is heard saying, “Football as a profession is haram.”

Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is in Qatar for the World Cup and will give numerous religious lectures throughout the competition, according to Faisal Alhajri, a presenter for the state-owned sports channel Alkass in Qatar.

The FIFA World Cup began on November 22 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar, about 35 kilometres from Doha. Naik, who is a fugitive in India, will deliver numerous religious lectures throughout the event, according to Alhajri. Earlier this month, the Home Ministry declared Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an illegal organization and barred it from operating for the next five years.

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The MHA notification stated that Zakir Naik’s remarks were unacceptable because he extolled known terrorists. According to the notification, the IRF founder has also advocated for the forced conversion of youth to Islam, justified suicide bombings, and made offensive comments about Hindus, Hindu Gods, and other religions.

Notably, India has asked for Naik’s extradition to international authorities. According to media reports, Zakir Naik fled to Malaysia and has been living in exile since 2017 after the Indian government chose to charge him with money laundering and hate speech.