New venue finalised for Naik’s media meet

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) The beleaguered Islamic Research Foundation announced a fresh venue – the fourth in a week – to conduct a media interaction with its founder chief, televangelist Zakir Naik on Friday morning, an aide said here.

Naik is now scheduled to address media via Skype at Banquet Hall, near Mazagaon Garden around 9.45 on Friday morning.

The new venue was finalized hours after the foundation was forced to abruptly cancel Thursday’s event scheduled at Mehfil Hall in Agripada, after a pre-midnight call led to the cancellation of Naik’s scheduled Thursday morning media interaction.

“The Islamic Research Foundation team was busy making the final arrangements for holding this morning’s media event. However, shortly before midnight, the Mehfil Hall (in South Mumbai) authorities called up, asking us to pack up and leave the premises immediately,” said a spokesperson for IRF.

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No reasons were cited for the last-minute cancellation. The team complied and left the premises early Thursday morning.

This was the third consecutive cancellation of Naik’s media event in the past five days, all due to last-minute cancellations by the venue owners, including the World Trade Centre and some five-star hotels.

The spokesperson added that although there were other options available to hold the meet, many were unsuitable for various reasons, including proper internet connection to ensure uninterrupted Skype connectivity.

Naik is currently in Saudi Arabia and will address the media from there after an alternate venue is finalised.

The Mumbai-based preacher is on a scheduled lecture tour of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and then Africa and expected to return home after a fortnight.

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