Tribune News network
Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation, on Thursday hosted a lecture delivered by renowned Indian Islamic Scholar Dr Zakir Naik titled 'Does God Exist?'.
Over 13,000 people, including Sheikhs, VIPs, media personalities and representatives of charity organisations attended the lecture as eyes were glued to giant screens as spontaneous translations services into Arabic, Urdu and Tagalog (Filipino) languages were put in place for the non-English speaking audiences.
The lecture was also broadcast live by several local and international TV networks.
Sheikh Fariq Naik, Zakir Naik's son, spoke for an hour prior to his dad as an introductory talk before the main lecture, focusing on comparison between Christianity and Islam.
Dr Naik's lecture is a new attempt to prove the existence of God to atheists by the 50-year-old Indian scholar who has adopted an approach based on clarifying Islamic viewpoints and clearing misconceptions about Islam, using the Qur'an, authentic Hadith and other religious scriptures as a basis, in conjunction with reason, logic and scientific facts.
He is popular for presenting convincing answers to challenging questions posed by audiences after his public talks, and interactions with Katara visitors and people of interests in those topics showed once again the powerful impact of his critical analysis.
The lecture was designed for three categories of people: Atheist, skeptical and believers who can't prove to others that God Exists.
Katara General Manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al Sulaiti, who presented an award to Dr Naik, said:"Hosting this mega event, we were well prepared and crowds were expected tonight. Extra chairs were placed at the beach side besides the amphitheater. We have a record for hosting such events attracting a large number of people.
"Last year, we organised lecture by the renowned Saudi preacher Dr Salman al Oudah and another one by American preacher Yusuf Estes. Both events saw many people converting to Islam. The 'Gardens of Paradise' or Riyadh A-Janna' series of lectures at Katara's Mosque and the 'Lifestyle' series of lectures at the Cultural Village are few examples demonstrating our keen interest in these religious and intellectual lectures."
He added,"The long-duration lecture managed to keep thousands of people interested till the last moments and that says much. We are proud that Katara has so far succeeded in introducing itself as an important platform where representatives of various cultures take the stage all in line with our vision aimed at giving a shot in the arm to efforts seeking to bring about a culture of dialogue, tolerance and acceptance."
After Dr. Zakir concluded his lecture, four people ascended to the stage announcing their conversion to Islam.
Commenting on the lecture, Journalist Samir al Hijawai said,"The lecture showed the popularity of Islamic messages and interests of the same by people from all walks of faith. Katara is playing an important role in that regard."
Christine, a Doha-based Dutch citizen, said:"I'm Christian but I'd like to know more about Islam as I've been living in Qatar for two years now."
Lourdes, a Doha-based Filipina, said:"My friend and I were attracted to the title of the lecture and we were interested so we decided to attend the event."
Another audience, Jack, a Frenchman, said:"It is my first time ever to attend such a lecture by an Islamic preacher. I must say Dr Naik has a way in presenting proofs that will make others interested in exploring Islam more."