Emirati diplomat: 'Nothing to negotiate' with Qatar

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash
Updated 07 June 2017
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Emirati diplomat: 'Nothing to negotiate' with Qatar

DUBAI: A top Emirati diplomat has told The Associated Press that “there’s nothing to negotiate” with Qatar amid a diplomatic crisis now gripping the Gulf.
Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash applauded efforts by the emir of Kuwait to try and mediate an end to the turmoil. However, when asked in a rare interview what Emiratis would be willing to concede, Gargash offered nothing. He also suggested that all options, including using force, remained on the table in confronting Qatar.
The United Arab Emirates joined Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in cutting off diplomatic ties to Qatar on Monday. The countries are now blocking Qatar’s access to their airspace and blocking its ships, isolating the small, energy-rich nation.
Measures taken by the United Arab Emirates and other nations against Qatar are aimed at pressuring Doha into changing its policies, not at overthrowing its regime, Gargash told AFP on Wednesday.
“We have now reached a cul-de-sac in terms of trying to convince Qatar to change course,” UAE’s Gargash said in an interview, accusing Qatar of being “the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region.”
“This is not about regime change — this is about change of policy, change of approach,” Gargash said.
The Arab states accuse Qatar of supporting extremism, a charge Doha firmly denies.
Gargash said the crisis was the result of “an accumulation over many, many years of subversive Qatari politics and support for extremism and terrorist organizations.”
Qatar has forged regional alliances independently of its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states, drawing accusation by Saudi Arabia and its allies of serving Iranian interests.
The country is home to a number of high-profile figures of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, both listed as terrorist organizations by the United States.

 

– With input from AP and AFP

 


UAE ‘a living example for the peaceful coexistence of all faiths’

Updated 21 June 2018
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UAE ‘a living example for the peaceful coexistence of all faiths’

  • Every Muslim is an ambassador of Islam, says UAE's grand mufti
  • We should forgive Indian chef Atul Kochhar and teach him about the values of Islam, he says

DUBAI: The UAE has shown the world how people of all faiths and nationalities can live together in peace, which is in line with the teachings of Islam, according to Dubai’s leading religious scholar.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Dr. Mohammed Al-Kobaisi, grand mufti of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities of Dubai, said that Islam includes the principles of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among all people for goodness and righteousness, to benefit everyone.
“The UAE put these principles into practice and legalized the system in such a way that it not only became a case study but a reality that many people live here,” he said.
“We have more than 200 nationalities who are witnessing that and are a testimony to it.
“Allah Almighty has said repeatedly that all mankind are made from one single male and female, and they are made into races and tribes to know one and other. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also repeated the same by saying: ‘Oh mankind you are all from Adam,’ and there is no distinction or superiority over Arab or non-Arab, neither white over black or black over white, except by righteousness and good deeds.”
Al-Kobaisi said these principals of peaceful coexistence are deeply rooted in the teachings of Islam.
“Muslims worldwide abide and practice them,” he said. “The UAE has made huge advancement in this area. It works on multiple levels: The education system, preaching within guidelines, the legal system and many others. All these put together make it a beautiful reality that all people in the UAE enjoy and benefit from the practice (of treating everyone equally.)”
The grand mufti said Muslims who live with non-muslims or in non-Muslim countries must be especially responsible with their behavior as they face particular challenges.
“The first (challenges) are those that Muslims are facing with regard to their faith and other worldly matters,” he said. “The other major issue is their reaction towards these (challenges) — their own behavior.”
He added that like it or not, every Muslim is an ambassador of Islam, and how each individual acts and presents himself or herself affects the perception and image of all Muslims.
“(In this regard) Islam actually stands out among many other religions,” said Al-Kobaisi. “If a non-Muslim does something, it does not reflect on his religion but if a Muslim does, then it usually reflects on the image of Islam.
“That's why the messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad, has guided us that we need to stand out among people with our characters, behaviors and morals. A Muslim should be known immediately as a Muslim because he is peaceful, respects the system and laws, is helpful to his community and neighbors, is truthful, and does not lie or cheat.”
He said this etiquette of Islam is very important everywhere but becomes even more crucial when dealing with non-Muslims.
“Now you are representing Islam,” said Al-Kobaisi. “Even if you are not a good Muslim, they will take it that this is what actual Muslims do. So you need to be careful and represent the real Islamic values. Muslims should always be ready to cooperate for the goodness and benefit of society.”
Responding to social media outcry over Dubai-based Indian origin chef Atul Kochhar’s tweet on Islam, Al-Kobaisi said such issues should be considered on two levels.

"First, a person who is living as a guest in a country should respect local cultural values and customs to ensure a peaceful coexistence.

“It does not make sense for a person living as a guest to attack local customs and traditions — let alone religious values or Islam at large, categorizing all Muslims and Islam through a narrow prism based on false information they read somewhere,” he said.

The second consideration is legal, given that the UAE has strict laws governing public comments, online or otherwise, about religion and anyone who breaks them can be prosecuted.

As for how Muslims should react to such cases, Al-Kobaisi said they should realize that the person involved is either ignorant or does not have the right information.

In the particular case of the chef, he said it is the duty of Muslims to educate him and share the real values of Islam, while offering forgiveness when warranted.

“We should forgive him and guide, if we realize that his opinion was based on wrong information and wrong experiences he had in the past,” he said.

However, if a person doing such things deliberately to disturb the peace in society, or to gain attention or sympathy, then the case should be referred to the authorities who will deal with it according to the rule of law, he added.