Qatari activism in France should greatly worry those who care about the stability of European democracies. For years, Qatar has been the focus of many claims about its Islamic fundamentalism and its alleged support for the MuslimBrotherhood, Iran, ISIS, elements of al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban and other Islamic extremists.
Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, recently provided solid proof that France is a privileged field of projection for his country, which, for more than a year, has had a severe boycott imposed on it by its Gulf neighbors. A July meetingin Paris between the Emir of Qatar and French President Emmanuel Macron was the third held in just a few months. Contracts worth more than 12 billion euroshave already been signed, making Qatar the third largest French customer in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Qatar, however, casts its shadow not only over the French economy.
Qatar’s purposeful support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Turkey, and radical Islamist terrorist groups led Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE to cut all ties with the Emirate last June. Indeed, it was no secret that “Qatar has a long history of harboring terrorist operatives and financing various extremist groups, including Hamas, the Taliban, al Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Nonetheless, Qatar has been protesting and arguing ever since that the “blockade” violates international law and human rights.
For many years, commercial time on CNN International has been filled largely with advertisements for the tourist boards and state-owned airlines of various Muslim countries. Given CNN’s unusually friendly coverage of these countries, and its disinclination to mention Islam when covering such topics as jihadist terrorism and immigrant crime in Europe, it is hard not to view CNN’s willingness to run these commercials with a jaundiced eye.
Currently Qatar is being boycotted by four other Arab states and the once strong Gulf Cooperation Council alliance (GCC) is in shambles. Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi immediately raised the boycott in his opening remarks though the dispute was supposed to be carefully avoided and wasn’t on the agenda. He called Qatar’s gulf enemies, especially Saudi Arabia, “rabid dogs”.
The state of Qatar has been officially labelled as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, and an active supporter of Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State — not by Western governments, but by Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islamic faith, and the other Islamic regimes of the region.
Knowing the facts of Qatar — 11000km2, one-third the size of Belgium, population 2.5 million — the question may seem far-fetched: How could France, the great France, possibly be bought by a tiny state such as Qatar?
For the single reason that, thanks to its huge gas and oil reserves, Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world and huge reserves of cash to invest everywhere, whereas France, thanks to 40 years of socialism, is in dire need of cash and has a tradition of corruptible officials, to say nothing of a propensity for “collaboration”.
LONDON — The spat between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which is accusing Qatar of supporting Islamist extremism and terrorism, remains perplexing. Perplexing not because Qatar is innocent — it has sponsored and hosted far too many jihadists for anyone to plausibly claim otherwise — but because it is the Saudis who are objecting to the funding of extremism. Qatar should be called out, but preferably by those who haven’t spent quite so much time and money advancing extremism themselves.
To be clear, it is not that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been directly funding terrorist organizations, and certainly not in Western countries. What has been happening for many years now, however, is that a set of beliefs has been advanced from Saudi Arabia that is, by any standard, extremist. The Wahhabi-Salafi belief system is one of religious supremacism, in which the very notion of man-made law, let alone democratic government, is derided.
In 550 the Cathedral of Córdoba was a Christian basilica, dedicated to a saint; then, in 714, it was occupied by the Muslims, who destroyed it and converted it into the Great Mosque of Córdoba during the reign of Caliph Abd al Rahman I. The site was returned to Catholic worship by King Ferdinand III in 1523 and became the current great Cathedral of Córdoba, one of the most important sites of Western Christianity. Now an alliance of secularists and Islamists are trying to turn the church back to Islamic worship.
Qatar has been told it must close the broadcaster Al Jazeera and meet 12 other demands to lift a blockade by countries including Saudi Arabia.
Qatar reportedly has 10 days to meet the list of conditions.
As well as shutting down Al Jazeera, which Qatar has previously said it would not do, the boycotting five Arab countries also want it to cut diplomatic ties with Iran.
A mere two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his first major foreign policy speech in Riyadh to delegates from dozens Muslim/Arab countries, Bahrain announced on June 5 that it was halting all flights to Qatar for being a sponsor of radical Islamist terrorists. Immediately, Saudi Arabia joined the boycott, as did the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Yemen, all of which also shut off access to Al Jazeera, the anti-American, anti-Semitic Qatari television network established in 1996 and operating since then to foment unrest across the Middle East and bolster the terrorist organization the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas.
The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and other officials in Doha fiercely denied the charge that their government has been backing terrorism, blaming a “fake news” report on the website of the state-controlled Qatar News Agency for the eruption of the Gulf crisis.
The dispute that has seen Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies isolate Qatar stems from allegations that the tiny gas-rich nation is sponsoring extremist groups which are destabilising the Middle East.
This is not the first time Qatar’s neighbours have expressed their displeasure over its individualist foreign policy – diplomatic relations were severed for nine months in 2014.
Tensions have arisen from Qatar’s support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood; its close relationship with groups such as the Taliban and certain al-Qaeda affiliates; and its relationship with Iran, which has most recently led to allegations from Saudi Arabia that the state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera is supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting government forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The government of Qatar has hired John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general during the Sept. 11 attacks, as it seeks to rebut accusations from U.S. President Donald Trump and its Arab neighbours that it supports terrorism.
Qatar will pay the Ashcroft Law Firm $2.5 million (2 million pounds) for a 90-day period as the country seeks to confirm its efforts to fight global terrorism and comply with financial regulations including U.S. Treasury rules, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, filing on Friday with the Justice Department.
Rank hypocrisy. All Muslim states support terror.
Several countries took major moves against Qatar today over its support for terror. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties, setting off a major crisis in the Middle East.
Georgetown University’s Qatar campus recently hosted Sami Al-Arian for a lecture in Doha. According to a news release from the school’s Middle Eastern Studies Student Association, Al-Arian is a “civil rights activist” who challenges students to make the world “a better, and more equitable and peaceful [place].”
Those are charitable descriptions of Al-Arian, a documented member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Majlis Shura, or board of directors. According to Islamic Jihad’s bylaws, which law enforcement agents found during searches of Al-Arian’s home and offices, there can be “no peace without Islam.” The group’s objective is to create “a state of terror, instability and panic in the souls of Zionists and especially the groups of settlers, and force them to leave their houses.”
The Dutch Embassy in Qatar confirmed the woman is being held and said a hearing was scheduled for Monday in Doha.
The embassy said Saturday it was “in close contact with the defendant and her family” and has provided consular services.
“We have provided assistance to her since the first day of detention,” it said.