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FACT CHECK REPORT

Christie Hui, Neima Izadi, Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC) Team

Chloe Bissett, Editor

Week of Monday, November 21, 2022


Dr. Zakir Naik[1]


Claim: Users on social media posted videos stating in the captions and hashtags that people converted to Islam after hearing Naik’s speeches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One video showed Naik reciting Islamic verses and four individuals repeating them.[2] Another video showed Naik surrounded by a large crowd, and the caption claimed that over 1000 people converted to Islam.[3]

Facts:

  • Zakir Naik is an Indian Islamic preacher who fled to Malaysia after facing charges of hate speech, money laundering, and terror-related offenses in India. Naik founded the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which was banned in India in 2016 due to Naik encouraging his followers to hate other religious communities in India.[4] He spread hatred against Hindus and engaged in terrorist activity in India and other nations.[5]

  • The videos do not depict Naik preaching in Qatar at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Similar videos of Naik and the four individuals were posted to Twitter in 2016 by a Qatari journalist[6] and on Facebook by Al Jazeera Mubasher, a Qatari news channel.[7] The video of Naik surrounded by a crowd has been reposted multiple times with different captions, including on YouTube in 2018 entitled “60 Filipinos convert to Islam.”[8]

  • The Qatari government reportedly told the Indian government that Naik was not invited in an official capacity to the opening of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[9]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The misleading posts would likely negatively impact the reputations of the governing body of FIFA and the Qatari government. Naik's presence at the event will likely be perceived as FIFA and the Qatari government supporting extremism due to Naik's outstanding terror-related charges. The perceived support of individuals who promote hate groups would likely cause global boycotts of FIFA and increase geopolitical tensions between the targeted countries and perpetrators of said hate speech, including the fans of their national teams.

  • The miscaptioned videos were likely shared to create tensions between the Indian and Qatari governments. Continued misinformation about Naik’s presence in Qatar will likely cast doubt on the truthfulness of the Qatari government’s statement that it did not invite Naik to the World Cup opening. The Indian government will likely attempt to extradite Naik from Qatar and interpret a lack of cooperation from the Qatari government as support for Naik.

  • These posts would likely damage Qatar’s reputation among Western powers and other nations committed to counterterrorism missions by calling into doubt Qatar’s counterterrorism efforts. Potential or current counterterrorism partners will likely face public opposition from their citizens, as partnering with Qatar would seem contradictory to counterterrorism objectives, especially if Qatar is perceived to be welcoming an extremist.

Verdict: FALSE

 

[1]Dr Zakir Naik in Maldives” by maapu licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

[2] 4 people already embrace Islam with Zakir Naik at World Cup, Archive.Today, November 2022, https://archive.ph/B6Tgd

[3] Update on the FIFA World Cup, Facebook, November 2022, https://www.facebook.com/musa.auta1/videos/2284086001746867/

[4] Islamic preacher Zakir Naik travels to Qatar to give 'religious lectures' ahead of FIFA World Cup, India Today, November 2022, https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/islamic-preacher-zakir-naik-qatar-give-religious-lectures-fifa-world-cup-2299534-2022-11-20

[5] Zakir Naik spreading hatred: Centre, The Hindu, March 2022, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/zakir-naik-continues-to-promote-hatred-against-hindu-gods-government-informs-tribunal/article65278653.ece

#كتارا .. #قطر أشخاص يعلنون إسلامهم بعد محاضرة د.ذاكر نايك في 4 [6]

Twitter, May 2016, https://twitter.com/jaberalharmi/status/736182253915656192?s=20&t=D06YpLtjElc7wP5P5v_W5w (translated by Google)

أربعة أشخاص يعلنون إسلامهم أمام الداعية الإسلامي "د.ذاكر نايك" بعد محاضرته "هل الإله موجود؟" [7]

Facebook, May 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ajmubasher/videos/1317788664900531/?t=0 (translated by Google)

[8] 60 Filipinos convert to Islam, YouTube, March 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf7yg4dLbhM&feature=emb_imp_woyt

[9] No official FIFA World Cup invite to Zakir Naik, Qatar tells India: Sources, India Today, November 2022, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/no-official-fifa-world-cup-invite-to-zakir-naik-qatar-tells-india-2300861-2022-11-23

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