President Trump is scheduled to meet next week with the leader of Qatar, a country that has acted as a regular menace in the Middle East through the course of the Trump presidency. However, its actions have not been met with much in the way of recourse, thanks to a powerful lobbying network inside of the United States and influential legislators who are willing to go to bat for the Islamic supremacist slave-labor stronghold.
“Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are,” the biblical wisdom goes. And if the president wants to cut through the rhetoric and come to understand Qatar, its foreign policy, and its leader in the clearest way possible, he should get to know the emir’s closest adviser.
When President Trump meets next week in the White House with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar, the president should inquire about the Islamic radical madman that is one of the sheikh's best friends.
One of the closest confidants of the emir is Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who is infamous in the Islamic world for his bloodthirsty hate preaching. This includes his use of religious edicts (known in Islam as fatwas) to condone murdering innocent lives. At the direction of the royal family that rules the country, Qatar has harbored Al-Qaradawi — known unofficially as the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood — for decades.
In the post-9/11 world, the Islamic hate preacher has used his massive platform to provide the rhetorical backing for some of the world’s most violent terrorist organization.
Al-Qaradawi has openly advocated for jihadists to commit suicide bombing attacks against the West. He has claimed, through his supposed scholarship, that they can be religiously justified against American soldiers and Israeli civilians. In 2003, he issued a fatwa proclaiming that Muslims should not hesitate to conduct suicide bombing attacks against pregnant Israeli women and their unborn children.
Described by the Anti-Defamation League as a “Theologian of Terror,” Al-Qaradawi has called for the killing of Jews “down to the very last one.”
In addition to his Jew-hatred, Al-Qaradawi has regularly authorized and encouraged the killing of American soldiers who are deployed overseas.
It is an understatement to say that Al-Qaradawi is merely a regular guest at events hosted by the Qatari royal family. He is often the featured guest of honor. The Muslim Brotherhood menace is usually seated directly next to the emir, as was the case at a state Ramadan banquet just two months ago.
Arab News reported on the Ramadan event: “In lengthy footage of the reception, Qatar Television shows Al-Qaradawi as apparent guest of honor, sitting next to Sheikh Tamim and chatting cordially with him. Sheikh Tamim apparently kissed Al-Qaradawi, who was sitting in a wheelchair, on the forehead.”
And this was not a one-off occurrence. Year after year, the Islamic hate preacher is continually seated as the guest of honor, directly next to the emir, at the highest-level state functions.
His bigoted statements, fatwas, and calls to violence have never received the slightest reprimand from his hosts in Qatar. In fact, they continue to glorify and sanction the extremist leader by publicly showcasing his close proximity to the emir. The very opposite of a reprimand, this signals that the emir endorses Al-Qaradawi’s statements and tactics.
Al-Qaradawi is not just a regular presence at the emir’s palace. For many years, he was a featured host on Qatar’s state-controlled Al Jazeera media network. The emir’s close pal has used his platform to call for violence against any and all enemies of Islamist fundamentalists, and he has promoted this dangerous incitement and bigotry to millions of viewers on Al Jazeera Arabic — which again, is fully controlled by the Qatari royal family. His public calls for violence and terror have resulted in his banishment from much of the Middle East and the Western world. Additionally, the United States has sanctioned a charity once run by Al-Qaradawi as a foreign terrorist organization. Without the state backing of Qatar, the hate preacher would have nowhere near the large platform that he has today.
When questions surface about the Qatari royals’ ties to radical Islamist entities and hate preachers like Al-Qaradawi, the standard line of reasoning that comes out of Qatar’s diplomatic channels is that they are simply acting as a “global intermediary” for their allies such as the United States. But this justification falls flat on its face when we observe that the Al-Thani-Al-Qaradawi bond has nothing to do with its supposed intermediary work, just as its longtime and continuing glorification of Osama bin Laden has nothing to do with acting as a mediator in any sense. Qatar has a long, proven track record of providing overt and covert aid to U.S.-designated terrorist organizations and their leadership. And the Al-Thani-Al-Qaradawi bond is perhaps the clearest example that Qatar is playing for the other team in our global war on Islamist extremism.
Jordan Schachtel is a foreign policy analyst and investigative reporter.