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Pakistan May Lose Crucial Backing as Saudi Arabia Turns to India

6:15 AM, Oct 25, 2012 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Naik, for his part, is banned from entry to Britain and Canada and was barred previously from Lucknow and the Indian state of which it is the capital, Uttar Pradesh. In 2008 he was declared an apostate from Islam by the chief Muslim judge in Lucknow, Maulana Mufti Abdul Irfan Qadvi. Maulana Qadvi demanded that Naik’s broadcasts be halted in India and that the Indian authorities investigate their financing.

Exclusion of Naik from Britain was supported by the piquantly titled “Muslim Movement for the Elimination of Prejudiced Mullahs.” Last year, Saudi Arabia took a little-noticed and surprising step in preventing Wahhabi sheikh Abdur Rahman Al-Sudais, Friday preacher at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and similarly denied a visa by Canada, from participating in a Naik-sponsored convocation in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia and India have a common interest in curtailing radical Islam, a danger of which Pakistan seems uncomprehending. Better relations between the two powers, and more pressure on Islamabad, are therefore a development to be cheered by the larger world.

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