The Qatari Prime Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah has sought to distance his country from remarks made by senior Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in which he criticised the UAE. The sheikh is resident in Qatar.
Al-Attiyah, who is also Qatar’s foreign minister, said that Al-Qaradawi’s remarks delivered during the Friday sermon last week do not represent Qatar’s views of the neighbouring Emirates. “Our relations with the UAE are strategic on both the diplomatic and popular levels,” he said.
Speaking on state-owned Qatari TV, the prime minister said that Qatar’s foreign policy is always represented by official state channels, not by the mass media or on any random platform. “We love and respect our brothers in the UAE and our relations are strategic.”
Pointing out that the security of all the Gulf States is inseparable, the PM added: “Qatar’s security is part of the security of all Gulf States and vice versa. Currently, I cannot narrate all of the historical relations between Qatar and the UAE.”
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi criticised the UAE for hosting the former Egyptian official Ahmed Shafiq, whom he described as “the man of Mubarak”. He also accused the country of “standing against every Islamic rule, punishing Islamists and sending them to prison.”
UAE officials criticised Al-Qaradawi and called for him to stop “spoiling” relations of “sister states” in the Gulf. The UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs tweeted, “It is shameful to leave Al-Qaradawi [to] continue his offences against the UAE and the relationships in the Arab Gulf.”
Former police chief Dahi Khalfan has criticised Al-Qaradawi severely in the past and called for him to be detained for previous remarks made in the wake of the military coup in Egypt last year.