India had made it clear to Qatar that if Qatar had invited Zakir Naik, whom India had declared as an elusive target, to participate in the opening ceremony, it would have canceled the visit of Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar, who was representing India at the opening of the World Cup. It is in this context that Qatar has informed India that they have not officially invited Zakir Naik. Qatar has accused the controversy of being part of an attempt to tarnish Qatar’s image. Meanwhile, Qatar is of the position that Zakir Naik may have made a private visit.
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Vice President Dhankar attended the opening ceremony of the World Cup and visited Indian expatriate workers who built soccer stadiums in Qatar. In March this year, the Union Home Ministry had declared the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), founded by Naik, an illegal organization under the UAPA and banned it for five years. India has asked the country to release Naik, who is currently in Malaysia. Cases related to terrorism and money laundering are pending against Naik in India.
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