Hate preacher Al-Qaradawi gets ‘best seat in house’ at Qatar emir’s banquet

Updated 22 May 2019

Hate preacher Al-Qaradawi gets ‘best seat in house’ at Qatar emir’s banquet

  • Appearance came within 24 hours of latest anti-Semitic rant
  • Cleric known for extreme views, including justifying suicide bombings

LONDON: A notorious hate preacher has been pictured at the top table at a Ramadan banquet thrown by Qatar’s emir, pictures on state TV show.

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi — who is known for his extreme views, including justifying suicide bombings and attacks on Jews — was pictured at the iftar reception hosted by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar.

In lengthy footage of the reception, Qatar Television shows Al-Qaradawi as apparent guest of honor, sitting next to Sheikh Tamim and chatting cordially with him. Sheikh Tamim apparently kissed Al-Qaradawi, who was sitting in a wheelchair, on the forehead.

Al-Qaradawi’s appearance at the iftar came in the same 24 hours in which he published a vile anti-Semitic rant in a Qatari publication.

It quoted claims that “the straight path is a separate way (for the Muslims); it is not the path of the Jews,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. 

David A. Weinberg, Washington Director for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, flagged Al-Qaradawi’s appearance in a tweet.

“Fact: In the same 24 hours extremist preacher Yousef Al-Qaradawi published his latest dehumanizing slander against the Jewish people, he was also kissed on the forehead by #Qatar’s ruler and given the best iftar seat in the house, by Tamim’s side & ahead of all other preachers,” he wrote.

Al-Qaradawi has been a guest at such events for several years running, Weinberg said.

Named in Arab News’ series “Preachers of Hate,” Al-Qaradawi has justified suicide bombings, especially in Palestine, has repeatedly spoken out against Jews as a community, and has issued fatwas (religious edicts) that demean women.

On Al Jazeera Arabic in January 2009, he said: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam … Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none.” 

Despite such hate speech, Al-Qaradawi continues to be based in Qatar, where he is given a platform by the government, said a member of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a non-profit organization that combats extremist groups.

“Yusuf Al-Qaradawi remains a vociferous purveyor of Islamist propaganda and bigotry. Rather than condemn his vile rhetoric, the Qatari government continues to provide Al-Qaradawi with a platform and hold him in a place of esteem,” Josh Lipowsky, senior research analyst at the CEP, told Arab News. 

“It is incumbent on the Qatari government to recognize Al-Qaradawi’s hateful propaganda and cease providing him with a safe haven and media platforms.”


Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

Updated 19 November 2019

Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

  • Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities

BEIRUT: Banks in Lebanon will reopen on Tuesday after the Association of Banks in Lebanon approved measures to ease the anger of depositors and customers. 

More than 3,000 members of Beirut’s police, the regional gendarmerie, the judicial police, and the information division of the Internal Security Forces will provide protection to banks and their employees, who carried out an open strike for a week.

They did so due to customers’ anger over measures applied by banks on withdrawals and transfers amid Lebanon’s severe political and economic crisis, which sparked mass protests that have been ongoing for 33 days.

Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon decided on Sunday to “stop restrictions on new funds transferred from abroad, provided that remittances abroad only cover urgent personal expenses.”

It also decided to lift restrictions on the circulation of checks, transfers, and the use of credit cards in Lebanon. 

As for the use of credit cards abroad, ceilings are determined by agreements between banks and customers.

The association has determined a maximum cash withdrawal rate of $1,000 per week for holders of current accounts in dollars, while checks issued in foreign currencies will be transferred into their account.

It has also urged customers to “use their credit cards, especially in Lebanese pounds, to buy their needs.”

Meanwhile, protesters are preparing to block roads leading to Parliament in the heart of Beirut on Tuesday, to prevent a legislative session from taking place. The session had already been postponed for a week.

In an attempt to placate protesters, the presidential palace’s media office said the president has ordered investigations into “financial crimes, waste, forgery, money laundering and suspicious transactions,” as well as “negligence at work, promotion of counterfeit medicines and suspicious reconciliation contracts.”