Qatar will not extradite preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to Egypt because he is "not a terrorist but a political opponent", the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said today.
Al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, is wanted in Egypt because he is a member of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Qaradawi will not be extradited because he has been a Qatari citizen since the 1970s. He is also not a terrorist but a political opponent who has a different point of view.
Al Thani continued by saying: "The information that led some Gulf Cooperation Council member states and Egypt to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group does not correspond with the information that Qatar has. Therefore, we have not listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group."
"We host these people as political opponents. We host lots of other people from different countries and not just from Egypt."
Al Thani explained that: "We do not allow them [Muslim Brotherhood members] to engage in any political activities in Qatar or to take our country as a starting point to insult or attack their countries."
Doha, he explained, does not support the Muslim Brotherhood "but supported and is still supporting the Egyptian people". It is for this reason that Qatar has not withdrawn its investments in Egypt which amount to approximately $20 billion, "because they serve the Egyptian people and contribute to creating more job opportunities and to the growth of the Egyptian economy".
"Qatar believes that if Egypt remains strong, this will have a positive impact on the Arab world."
The importance of the GCC
Al Thani described the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as "being important and a source of stability in the region". He also stressed that "Qatar is unlikely to withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council."
[Qatar] will remain committed to preserving security in the Gulf, despite the fact that the countries of the embargo put the Gulf Cooperation Council at risk by violating its principles.
However, "there is a need to reform the Gulf Cooperation Council to respect the sovereignty of the member states and to avoid the policy of imposition against other countries."
Al Thani reiterated that his country is ready for an "unconditional dialogue to discuss the demands of the countries of the embargo without any concession as regards its sovereignty."