Qatar scholar urges Saudi, UAE leaders to halt Egypt support

Yusuf Al Qaradawi

Omar Chatriwala/Flickr

Prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi has called on neighboring Saudi Arabia to stop funding the Egyptians who overthrew former President Mohamed Mursi, saying the military rulers are “far from God and Islam,” Reuters reports.

In an email to the news service, the Egyptian-born Al Qaradawi, who is now a Qatari citizen, said:

“I call upon the people of Saudi Arabia and on the Saudi regime to stand with the Egyptian people against the murders and executioners, to stand with the right against wrong, to stand with the slain against the killer, to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors.

These rulers hate Saudi Arabia and its ruling regime. They do not believe in sharia.”

Following the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mursi last summer, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE pledged billions of dollars in support to Egypt’s new government.

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to run in the nation’s pending presidential election and widely expected to win.

Since the government shakeup, Qatar and Egypt have been on uncertain footing. In September, Egypt returned $2 billion in investment that Qatar had deposited in its foreign bank, and turned down a request to increase the number of flights between the two nations.

And this month, Qatar’s ambassador in Cairo was rebuked after the Gulf country’s foreign ministry expressed concern about the killing of Egyptian protestors demonstrating in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Additionally, several members of Doha-based Al Jazeera remain jailed in Egypt, accused of having ties to the MB and fomenting trouble for the state.

Response

Al Qaradawi’s bold statements about what role Arab nations should play in Egypt has frustrated some of his Gulf targets.

Earlier in January, the cleric released a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting Egyptians from voting in a referendum by the military-installed interim government.

And last week, he criticized the UAE in a broadcast sermon for supporting the current government, drawing the ire of the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammad Gargash, who tweeted:

“It is shameful that we allow Al Qaradawi to continue his insults of the UAE and ties [that bind] the peoples of the Arabian Gulf.”

Continuing in that vein, Abu-Dhabi based newspaper the National ran a piece today about the scholar titled, “Hatred, violence and the sad demise of Yusuf Al Qaradawi.

In it, deputy opinion editor Hassan Hassan suggests that a long-ago fatwa by Al Qaradawi sanctioning suicide bombing as a defense against the Israeli occupation is being used to justify violence in the region.

Al Qaradawi has maintained that the edict was tailored specifically at Palestinians fighting Israel. He also told Reuters this week that he did not believe the MB would carry out this type of violence in Egypt, referencing recent bombings (not suicides) there:

“This act has the fingerprints of Egypt’s intelligence service all over it. I condemn these bombings, and we condemn violence in all its colours, and we know that a peaceful revolution is the way to success. To pursue violence is not in their interest.”

Thoughts?

About Shabina S. Khatri

Shabina S. Khatri is the editor of Doha News. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, has previously taught at NU-Q, and worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.