Indian fugitive Zakir Naik arrives in Qatar to give talks at Fifa World Cup - report

Controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India over allegations of terror-related activities and inciting hate speeches, reportedly arrived in Qatar for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

The Indian Muslim preacher came to Qatar to give many religious lectures, Faisal Alhajri, a presenter at the Qatari state-owned sports channel Alkass said on Twitter.

“Preacher Sheikh Zakir Naik is present in Qatar during the World Cup and will give many religious lectures throughout the tournament,” Mr Alhajri said on Saturday.

Several videos on social media showed Mr Naik walking into the venue, flanked by volunteers.

Mr Naik’s presence at the controversial World Cup has triggered outrage among several people in India and is expected to spark fresh tensions with the nation following a diplomatic row in June over India’s ruling party member’s inflammatory comments against prophet Muhammad.

It comes as Indian vice president, Jagdeep Dhankhar embarked on a two-day visit to Qatar on Sunday to represent India at the World Cup.

The Islamic preacher, 57, was banned in India in 2016 and faces charges of spreading hate speech and inciting terrorism. He is also facing money laundering charges after he was accused of acquiring $28mn (£21m) worth of criminal assets to buy properties in India and finance events.

Mr Naik, who promotes a radical form of Islam on “personal television channel”, Peace TV, has an estimated 200 million viewers worldwide.

He has been living in exile in Malaysia where then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad-led government denied India’s request for extradition, saying he will not be deported “as long as he is not creating any problem”.

He was also banned by Theresa May in the UK when she was home secretary, after he praised Osama bin Laden and said “all Muslims should be terrorists”.

It comes months after India’s longstanding relations with Qatar suffered a setback after Doha along with a host of Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE raised objection to the comments by BJP politician, Nupur Sharma.

Ms Sharma, who was suspended from her position as national spokesperson for prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stirred massive controversy with her inflammatory speech against Prophet in June.

The Independent has reached out to Fifa organisers in Qatar for a comment.