The Russian ambassador and Al-Qaradawi
Vladimir Titorenko, while speaking about his memories from the world of diplomacy, recalled his experiences as the former Russian ambassador to Qatar and recounted an interesting discussion between him and Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure.
“Al-Qaradawi told me that Russia should accept the fact that tyrants and corrupt Arab regimes must disappear, and that people were tired of their old governments which must be replaced by social power,” Titorenko said during an interview with the TV show “A Journey into Memory” on the Russia Today TV channel. “He also said that once these countries got rid of their rulers, ‘we would be able to build thriving communities based on our original traditions.’
“That was when I said to him, ‘Excuse me, but since you are constantly repeating the word democracy, do you think the regime of the country in which you live — referring to Qatar — is democratic? Do you think the neighboring countries that have no parliaments or political parties, but absolute monarchies instead, are democratic?’ His response was, ‘No, but their time will come, too.’
“I repeated my question, ‘Do you mean it is necessary to overthrow Qatar’s rulers and princes as well?’ He replied, ‘Princes must first perform their duties, and the people will later on overthrow them.’”
Titorenko believes Al-Qaradawi has great influence in Qatar. “For example, he used to call the Amiri Diwan (government complex) and ask to have a certain channel broadcast additional gory footage,” he said.
“He (i.e. Al-Qaradawi) said it in front of me ‘Air as much footage of gore and child murder as possible.’
“This is really horrible,” the host of the show commented. “Indeed,” the ambassador replied. “I have informed Moscow of this, and wrote that I believed Al-Qaradawi was giving instructions to the Qatari leadership on how to create propaganda from airing massacres of children and women on TV.”
Titorenko’s story and his impressions do not surprise us and are not news to us, but are rather a testimony of a retired diplomat who is not a party to the dispute. Quite the contrary, Russia is in agreement with some of Doha's allies, such as Iran and Hezbollah.
Some may believe Al-Qaradawi’s words as noted by the Russian ambassador, which are repeated publicly by his followers, are a testimony in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and not against it — that their vision of the best system of government is modern and promotes political participation through democracy.
The political rhetoric used by extremist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, is characterized by a sophisticated political vocabulary that is in fact misleading and does not reflect their exclusionist theological methodology.
My only argument here is that the political rhetoric used by extremist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, is characterized by a sophisticated political vocabulary that is in fact misleading and does not reflect their exclusionist theological methodology.
They tried to hijack that historic moment during the "Arab Spring" in 2011, by not openly speaking of their political-religious project, which is “Islam is the solution,” and disguised themselves while focusing their speeches on three words: Freedom, rights and elections — which cohered with the Egyptian and Tunisian elections.
But the truth has remained incomplete. The Muslim Brotherhood used the term democracy and associated it with fascist religious concepts that guarantee a particular group rules forever — just like the Iranian Khomeinist democracy, which continues to flaunt its meaningless elections after executing thousands of its revolution partners from nationalist and leftist parties.
The story told by the Russian ambassador about Al-Qaradawi, in which he spoke of Qatar and the Arabian Gulf’s other kingdoms, is not strange either.
The religious groups in Iran used the Shah during a difficult period of his rule, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza which had claimed to be democratic has refused to relinquish power, turning the Strip instead into an Iranian garrison. This is also what the Muslim Brotherhood did when they were given the opportunity in Sudan; they took power after overthrowing Sadiq Al-Mahdi’s elected government.
This is why extremist groups cannot deceive us by making us believe that they truly want a change made by the people, support political participation, and believe in rights and elections. They cannot because this is not who they are. The communists, too, used the same discourse, before them.
However, I disagree with the former ambassador that Al-Qaradawi is influencing Qatar’s leadership. He is probably taking advantage of the convergence of the Muslim Brotherhood and some Arab nationalists in Qatar.
We, like the ambassador, do not understand how politicians in Qatar can overlook those who are conspiring against them. This matter has no scientific explanation and no logical interpretation.
— Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.