Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, denied that his country has any relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, stressing that Doha deals with states and governments, not with political parties.
“This relationship does not exist, and there are no active members of the Muslim Brotherhood or any groups associated with it on Qatari soil. We are an open country and a large number of people with different opinions and ideas pass through it, but we are a country and not a party.” He said during an interview with the French newspaper Le Point, about the criticisms faced by the State of Qatar.
These statements coincided with the presence of the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in Doha, on his first visit since taking the position
Sheikh Tamim’s statements about the Brotherhood sparked a lot of controversy, as observers considered that Qatar’s Emir was trying to disavow his country’s close relationship with the group.
The statement can be understood in the context of Qatar’s attempts to identify with the regional changes witnessed in the region which culminated in Gulf reconciliation and Turkish-Gulf and Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement
Since denying this relationship is far from reality. There are several indicators and facts, most notably “Qatar’s continued relationship with the current political Islam in the region, in reference to Doha’s relationship with the head of the parallel government in Libya Fathi Bashagha, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, in addition to the relationship Qatar includes the Palestinian Hamas movement, the Yemeni Islah party, and the Tunisian Ennahda movement.
The presence of the International Union of Muslim Scholars headquarters in Qatar is one of the most important indicators of Doha’s continued embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood. Considering that the Union recruited itself to defend the Brotherhood’s approach, which brought it into a clash with the Iftaa and Al-Azhar in Egypt, and later with the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia. All of this according to an informed source who preferred not to be named.
Although Emir of Qatar denied the leaders presence from the group on its soil, the emirate actually hosts many of them, such as the leader of the Syrian Brotherhood, Majd Makki, the well-known preacher Muhammad al-Hassan al-Dado, head of the Center for the Training of Scholars in Mauritania, and a professor of the history of religions at Qatar College of Islamic Studies, Muhammad Mukhtar. Al-Shanqeeti.
In addition, many of what are described in the media as the “electronic brigades of the Brotherhood” are based in Qatar, as the group’s activists are present on the Arab Television Network, which recently moved from London to Doha, and other media platforms
Qatar’s relationship with the Brotherhood
The beginnings of the emergence of Brotherhood leaders in Doha date back to the fifties and sixties of the last century, where Yusuf al-Qaradawi traveled there, and held several positions, including director of the Secondary Religious Institute, and dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University, and then since 1996 has been presenting the program “Sharia and Life” on Al Jazeera.
Abd al-Badi Saqr was among the prominent Brotherhood figures who contributed to building the Qatari-Brotherhood relationship. He arrived in Qatar in 1954 to become an educational director, and then director of the Qatar National Library. During his administration, many teachers from the Muslim Brotherhood flocked to Doha, and they were able to impose their “Islamic” ideology on the Qatari education.
Since the 1950s, some Qatari state leaders have been dominated by a religious agenda, which is one of the reasons for the influx of Muslim scholars to Doha, in addition to the need of the emerging Qatari institutions for educated staff. Also, “the Brotherhood constitutes an important part of the facade of the ruling family in Qatar. The relationship between the two parties is based on “mutually beneficial relations.”According to a previous study prepared by David Roberts entitled “Qatar and the Brotherhood”.
One of the Qatar’s support for its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood advantages is that such an approach allowed Doha to develop its bureaucratic systems, noting that the Qatari leaders were the “strongest party” in their relationship with the Brotherhood, and this situation allowed them to impose restrictions on the group’s activities, especially in light of Qatari government’s conviction that the Brotherhood does not pose a threat to Doha.
On the other hand, one of the benefits of Qatar hosting Brotherhood leaders, according to Roberts, was to strengthen the Qatari position and extend its influence in the Middle East, as Qatar is a small country geographically and humanly. And therefore seeks to invest the Brotherhood as a card in its favor in regional roles and to contain the influence of its rival countries. Thus, Doha became the “main spokesperson” for the Brotherhood, which was attracted by Qatar open-door policy, which emerged during the “Arab revolutions”.
Although Qatar is the most prominent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no Qatari branch of this current, in a paradox, that raises many questions about the group’s absence from a space to support and sponsor them, as the local branch led by Jassim bin Sultan announced its dissolution in the late nineties .