India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said that the government has raised with Qatar the issue of Indian fugitive Zakir Naik’s extradition. The ministry’s comment follows reports of Naik, now a Malaysian national, being invited to Qatar, where he is scheduled to deliver religious lectures throughout the ongoing FIFA World Cup.
In a statement issued today, Arindam Bagchi, the MEA Spokesperson, said: “He [Zakir Naik] is an accused in India, under Indian law. We have already raised the issue of his extradition with Malaysia. We have also raised it with Qatar.”
The MEA Spokesperson further said that the Indian government will continue with its efforts to make Naik face legal procedures in India.
Naik fled to Malaysia in 2016, just before the National Investigation Agency started a probe against him.
On Tuesday, reacting to the controversial Islamic preacher’s presence at the FIFA World Cup, Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, had said that India will raise this issue and decisive action will be taken as well.
“I’m sure India took it up and will take it up. But the point is he’s a Malaysian national. You invite him somewhere, whether they knew I’ve no knowledge of that,” the Union minister had said in a statement.
Naik faces charges of money laundering and delivering hate speeches in India.
In March, this year, the Home Ministry had declared the Naik-founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years.
The MHA notification stated that the speeches of Zakir Naik were objectionable as he had been extolling known terrorists.