New Delhi: Radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has landed in Qatar. At the same time when FIFA World Cup fans are also pouring in. Ironically, Naik had been preaching that Football is forbidden (Harãm), as per Islamic doctrine.
Zakir Naik is a wanted criminal in India. Law enforcement agencies have accused him of money laundering and hate speech. Qatar authorities have washed off their hands by saying that they have not sent any official invitation to the controversial Islamic preacher.
But all this begs a question!
Of late, the European powers have been questioning Indian dignitaries over India’s trade relations with Russia. Often citing the latter’s human rights record. But Europe itself does not stop buying gas from Russia who according to them is human rights violator. And now they are cozying up to Qatar, another country facing charges of human rights violations and terror links.
In fact, this coziness should not be a surprise. After all, Qatar has the second-largest gas reserves in the world after Russia. European Union inaugurated its delegation offices in Doha in September 2022. For no other reason but with the intention of reaching long-term strategic agreements. Also, Total Energy of France has signed a cooperation agreement with Qatar Energy for $1.5 billion. Germany followed suit, establishing a long-term energy cooperation with Qatar.
The question then arises – Is FIFA World Cup 2022 a clumsy bid at whitewashing Qatar’s image. Also, to justify its trade relations with Europe? And this at a time when the Ukraine war has had a severe impact on the Russian gas supplies to them.
If yes, then what about the western world’s supposed commitment to human rights and liberal values? Well, they can take a backseat. Why? Because these nations have the legal right to do so. Just as the sovereign Qatar has the right to host a radical Islamist hate-preacher Zakir Naik on its soil.
In that case, what the least Europe and Qatar can do is, stop lecturing India on the issues of trade relations and religious tolerance.