Abu Dhabi summoned the Qatari ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Faris al-Nuaimi on Sunday, and gave him a memorandum protesting statements made by the Doha-based religious cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi against the Gulf state.
Egyptian-born Qaradawi, who has been based in Qatar since he was stripped of his citizenship decades ago, attacked the UAE in one of his Friday sermons, an Al Arabiya correspondent said.
Qaradawi, who is in his late 80s, is the head of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated International Federation of Muslim Scholars (IFMS).
Egypt’s first civilian president Mohammad Mursi was ousted through a popularly-backed coup on July 3. Qaradawi expressed disdain for the new Egyptian regime, saying it was a “ruling against Allah’s will” and that Mursi must be reinstated to ensure Islamic rule.
The religious scholar is said to have made anti-UAE remarks both during his Friday sermons and on Qatar’s state television when he said that the UAE doesn’t support an Islamist government.
“We waited from our neighbor to express obvious rejection for this violation and to give enough explanation and guarantees that such incident from defaming and incitement wont’ happen despite UAE’s respect for freedom of expression and opinion,” Emirates News Agency (WAM) quoted UAE’s foreign minister, Anwar Qarqash , as saying.
Qarqash, who said that Abu Dhabi “rejects speeches that incite violence and hatred,” added, “We have in the past days worked to contain this to uphold our brotherly relations and stop any strife from happening, but we found ourselves compelled to take this unprecedented step in our Gulf relations.”
Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyyah said remarks made by the Doha-based scholar doesn’t represent his country’s official foreign policy, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported him as saying.
“The foreign policy of Qatar is expressed and conveyed only through the official channels of the state,” Attiyyah confirmed.
Describing the relations between the two Gulf states as “strategic,” he said the “the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] is an integrated entity that cannot be divided, so the security of Qatar is at the same time the security of the UAE, and vice versa.”