“Football as a profession is haram in Islam,” said Zakir Naik in one of videos which has gone viral when one of the Islamic nations of the world Qatar is hosting FIFA World Cup 2022. The same Zakir Naik is invited to the World Cup for giving religious lectures throughout the tournament.
As the inaugural match of the World Cup kicked off, this was confirmed by one of the leading presenter of the Qatari State sports channel Alkass Faisal Alhajri when he tweeted, ”Naik is present is Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament”. As if the uncalled for tournament and unfortunate events leading to the biggest tournament of the most popular global sports were not enough, this was a shocker.
Terrorist group Al-Qaeda warns ‘Muslims’
Terrorist group Al-Qaeda has warned Muslim community to steer clear of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Al-Qaeda has also criticised Qatar for hosting the FIFA World Cup, for “bringing immoral people, homosexuals and atheism into the Arabian Peninsula”. “We warn our Muslim brothers from following this event or attending it,” said the statement, reported by the SITE Intelligence group, a day before the tournament opens in a predominantly Muslim country for the first time. World Cup organisers, in response to criticism over Qatar’s human rights record including LGBT rights as well as social restrictions, have said that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome during the event. n
For the Indians this was reminiscent of the cricket matches in Sharjah where underworld don Dawood Ibrahim used to be present in luxury boxes of the stadium during cricket matches played in Sharjah.
Zakir Naik is an Indian fugitive. The Home Ministry of India, in March, 2022, designated his Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful group and barred it from operating for five years. As per MHA notification, Zakir Naik’s remarks were unacceptable as he extolled known terrorists, promoted forceful conversion of youth to Islam, justified suicide bombing and posted unacceptable comments against Hindus, Hindu Gods and other religions. Qatar soon had to realise that this is not the India of the past where the presence of Dawood Ibrahim was royally ignored. This is new India. Zakir Naik arrived in Doha to spread his agenda of hate. As per the reports confirmed by the top Government sources, New Delhi immediately raised concerns with Doha that it will be compelled to terminate Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar’s proposed trip to the FIFA World Cup if Islamist Zakir Naik will be invited to watch the opening ceremony from VVIP box. After this, Qatar informed India that Zakir Naik had not received any formal invitation to attend the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
While the ruling dispensation of the country took the bold stand which should set the template for the future, the eerie silence of a section of political class and mainstream media was shameful. A leader of a major opposition party said that he’s least bothered about these unwanted things. His total focus is on football. What he did not say is that he’s afraid to oppose the presence of fugitive Zakir Naik during the World Cup and stand with the Government of India because he’s scared of loosing the support of his Muslim vote bank. While we may lecture on focusing on football, the list of issues during the World Cup is long and unending. The report has been rubbished by the liberal media but he’s the same individual who was used as a legitimate voice during the Leicester violence when the Hindus were attacked for weeks. Ironically, even the Guardian which quoted him extensively during the Leicester violence did not buy his reports when he claimed about the conversion. The influence of Islam over the World Cup could be further corroborated when sale of beer was banned in the stadiums just before commencement of the World Cup. The State made a u-turn on this as it was agreed upon when negotiations for the bidding process was going on.
Qatar and Terror Financing: Can’t turn a Blind Eye
Qatar has been consistently facing allegations of funding and abetting terror activities in West Asia and all over the world. It remains one of Hamas’s largest funders and supporters and has pledged more than $1.1 billion to Hamas since 2012. Qatar is accused of hosting members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. In July 2021, the U.S. Department of State opened an investigation into alleged Qatari financial support of the IRGC. According to the New York Times, Qatar provides global Islamist groups with “safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Middle Eastern governments have criticised alleged Qatari support of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan (Al Rayan Bank), and Qatar National Bank. In South Asia also, Qatar is believed to use charity organisations to promote Islamic radicalism.
Qatar has always amplified and diplomatically supported violent protests curbing free speech in the name of blasphemy.
(Source: COunter Extremism Project https://www.counterextremism.com/countries/qatar-extremism-and-terrorism/report )
In another major advisory, visiting fans have been urged to respect the culture of the host country. Journalists, who are covering the event, inform about the unwritten dress code rules more so for the women. There are countries which have advised its citizens to abide by the country’s laws, particularly on sensitive matters. The UK in its advisory reminds fans that importing drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books into Qatar is illegal. The US Library of Congress talks about the host country penalising those engaging in indecent acts and acts of social intercourse outside marriage. In no other global sporting events of this scale and size there has been so much of do’s and don’t and moral policing when compared to the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA World Cup will have a winner and a looser in a few weeks time but the time has come to expose the hypocrisy without which terror, terrorism and radicalism cannot be challenged and pushed to the corner.