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FIFA: Qatar behind Palestine

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Qatar has had a history of linkages with terrorist and sectarian groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda. It has allegedly also supported Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

New Delhi, Dec 02: Reports of demonstrations in support for the Palestinian cause at the current FIFA World Cup being held in Qatar are hardly surprising. Observers say such demonstrations are not possible in the state of Qatar without its tacit support.

Qatar has had a history of linkages with terrorist and sectarian groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda. It has allegedly also supported Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In July 2021, the US State Department even launched an investigation into this.

FIFA: Qatar behind Palestine

Qatar's connection with the Muslim Brotherhood has been very strong. The late Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian scholar, was based in Doha. Qaradawi happened to be the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He was influenced by founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna. Qaradawi described the Holocaust as a 'divine punishment.' He prescribed carrying out terror attacks, including suicide bombings, against Israeli citizens, the US forces in Iraq, and some of the Arab regimes.

In 1999, the United States banned Qaradawi from entering its territory. In 2009, Britain did the same. Between 2013 and 2018, Egypt wanted him placed on the Interpol wanted list. However, Qatar has kept its link with the Brotherhood intact.

The Al-Jazeera TV network is state-owned. Its Arabic channel has been a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood. Throughout the Iraq War, it broadcasted "Gruesome images of dead Western soldiers. It described suicide bombings as 'paradise operations.' It presented terrorist activities as acts of 'resistance.'"

Multilingual preachers at Mosques during 2022 FIFA World Cup in QatarMultilingual preachers at Mosques during 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Pertinently, Al-Jazeera provided a platform for Islamist clerics, such as Ahmad Al-Baghdadi, who incite violence against Jews and Americans. It gave full coverage to a 2009 speech by prominent Kuwaiti Islamist academic and politician Abdullah Al-Nafisi. Therein Al-Nafisi promoted the idea of terrorism inside the United States either through anthrax or by targeting nuclear power plants.

Al-Jazeera also promoted Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. In July 2001, an Al-Jazeera host praised him as the "slender Bin Laden who has made the greatest power in history [the US] shudder at the sound of his name."

More importantly, Qatar has been very close to Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood, which has consistently advocated the cause of Palestine. To achieve its goal, Hamas has carried out thousands of terror attacks against democratic Israel to destroy the Jewish state. Yet Qatar has hosted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and several others, including Khaled Mashaal, Hussam Badran, Izzat al-Risheq and Sami Khater. Qatar has poured millions of dollars into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Apparently, most of these funds go to impoverished families in Gaza. But factually, the Hamas diverts the Qatari resources to build tunnels and manufacture weapons aimed at destroying Israel.

(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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