Indian fugitive preacher Zakir Naik in Oman, New Delhi flags concern

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The Indian government is in touch with Oman after reports of the Gulf nation hosting the controversial “fugitive” preacher Zakir Naik, an external affairs ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

“Zakir Naik is an accused in numerous cases in India. He's a fugitive from justice. We have taken up the matter with the Government of Oman, with Oman authorities and we will continue to take all necessary measures to bring him to face justice in India,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly media briefing.

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India and Oman formally established diplomatic relations in 1955, that was then upgraded to strategic ties in 2008.

The controversial Indian Muslim preacher, facing charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, was invited by the Omani government-backed Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.

Naik is scheduled to speak at the Sultan Qaboos University on Saturday.

He previously spoke on Friday, coinciding with the second day of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center. He arrived in the capital city of Muscat on Wednesday.

India banned Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation in late 2016, accusing him of encouraging and aiding followers to “promote or attempt to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.”

Naik has denied all those claims. He moved to Malaysia after fleeing India in 2016.

He was spotted in Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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