Controversy surrounds Qatari Emir’s UK visit

Banners appeared over prominent roads in London with the hashtag #OpposeQatarVisit. (AN Photo)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Controversy surrounds Qatari Emir’s UK visit

  • Emir Tamim’s speech in Parliament is likely to praise his country’s relations with the UK
  • Arab activists in London said they’ve prepared a special welcome for the Emir

LONDON: Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani arrived in the United Kingdom on Sunday for a visit that is already mired in controversy, with activists planning to demonstrate outside Parliament on Monday against Qatar’s continued support for terrorism across the Middle East region.
Meanwhile, banners over prominent roads in London, with the hashtag #OpposeQatarVisit, asked: “If a country was accused of paying $1 billion in a ransom to terrorist groups… then why is the UK government rolling out the red carpet for the Qatar Emir?”
The schedule of the Qatar Emir’s visit was not disclosed officially by the UK government, but sources told Arab News that his official engagements will start Monday morning with a meeting with UK businessmen and later in the day, he is due to make a speech in Parliament. His meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and other members of the UK government will take place on Tuesday.

Sources said that his speech in Parliament is likely to praise his country’s special relations with the UK and to condemn the year-old boycott imposed on his country by the Anti-Terror Quartet (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE) due to Doha’s continued support of terrorism and terrorist organizations in the Middle East and beyond.
Arab activists in London said that they have prepared a special welcome for the Qatari Emir, calling for a noisy demonstration outside Parliament on Monday afternoon. The call to demonstrate against his visit was widely distributed via social media, with videos of people interviewed on the streets of London calling into question Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. “I can’t imagine it’s for the good of the sport or for inclusivity,” says one man. “It’s just not fair that it’s happening in Qatar,” says another.
The demonstration will take place after several recent stories have drawn Londoners’ attention to Qatar’s actions. Most recently, the BBC revealed new evidence that a $1-billion ransom Doha paid for the release of 28 Qataris kidnapped in Iraq was used to fund terror.
Also this month, it was revealed that Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Thani, a former Qatari interior minister linked to financing and promoting terrorism who had briefly been confined to house arrest, had recently re-emerged in Doha, where he was photographed signing a wall portrait of Sheikh Tamim. And last month, the UK Parliament launched an investigation into the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK, a shadowy group with alleged ties to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, after the videotaping of an event apparently breached parliamentary rules.

Ghassan Ibrahim, a London-based political analyst, said that members of Parliament as well as the UK government must review their position on Qatar. “If they have to meet with the Qatari Emir, they have to ask the important questions, especially the ones concerning Doha’s sponsor of terrorism and its ransom payment of $1.2 billion to terror groups in Iraq to liberate several members of the ruling Qatari family on a hunting trip in Iraq.
“The UK must also ask the Emir of Qatar questions about Doha’s continued financial, political and military support for the Al-Nusra Front and other extremists groups in Syria,” Ibrahim added, pointing out that Qatar continues to go against the international community’s stance to increase pressure on Tehran so that it stops meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors.
Ibrahim told Arab News that it is “common knowledge that Doha has been supporting extremists groups and organizations that refuse integration in their respective host countries in the West, and Doha provides material help and funds for groups that are bent on dividing societies.”
The Emir of Qatar’s UK visit, Ibrahim added, is unlikely to change the Gulf country’s stance on promoting and funding terror, nor is it likely that Doha will change course and alienate itself from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terror groups.
The Anti-Terror Quartet, which was established over a year ago, has been calling on Qatar to severe its relations with terror groups, and to stop giving financial and media support for the promotion of violent rhetoric and acts across the region.


Preachers of Hate: Arab News launches series to expose hate-mongers from all religions

Updated 25 March 2019
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Preachers of Hate: Arab News launches series to expose hate-mongers from all religions

  • Daesh may be defeated, but the bigoted ideas that fueled their extremism live on
  • Campaign could not be more timely, with a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Christchurch attacks

RIYADH: Dozens of Daesh militants emerged from tunnels to surrender to Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria on Sunday, a day after their “caliphate” was declared defeated.

Men filed out of the battered Daesh encampment in the riverside village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border to board pickup trucks. “They are fighters who came out of tunnels and surrendered today,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Jiaker Amed said. “Some others could still be hiding inside.”

World leaders hail Saturday’s capture of the last shred of land controlled by Daesh in Syria, but the top foreign affairs official for the semi-autonomous Kurdish region warned that Daesh captives still posed a threat.

“There are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and for the international community,” Abdel Karim Omar said. “Numbers increased massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation.”

 While the terrorists have a suffered a defeat, the pernicious ideologies that drive them, and the hate speech that fuels those ideologies, live on. For that reason Arab News today launches Preachers of Hate — a weekly series, published in print and online, in which we profile, contextualize and analyze extremist preachers from all religions, backgrounds and nationalities.


 

In the coming weeks, our subjects will include the Saudi cleric Safar Al-Hawali, the Egyptian preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the American-Israeli rabbi Meir Kahane, the Yemeni militia leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, and the US pastor Terry Jones, among others.

 

The series begins today with an investigation into the background of Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist who shot dead 50 people in a terrorist attack 10 days ago on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Tarrant is not just a terrorist, but is himself a Preacher of Hate, author of a ranting manifesto that attempts to justify his behavior. How did a shy, quiet boy from rural New South Wales turn into a hate-filled gunman intent on killing Muslims? The answers may surprise you.

Our series could not be more timely — anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK have soared by almost 600 percent since the Christchurch attack, it was revealed on Sunday.

The charity Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents, said almost all of the increase comprised “language, symbols or actions linked to the Christchurch attacks.”

“Cases included people making gestures of pointing a pistol at Muslim women and comments about British Muslims and an association with actions taken by the terrorist in New Zealand,” the charity said.

“The spike shows a troubling rise after Muslims were murdered in New Zealand,” said Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA. “Figures have risen over 590 percent since New Zealand in comparison to the week just before the attack.