June 25, 2015 | Quote

Qatar’s Foundation for Hypocrisy

ISTANBUL — The glamorous and sophisticated wife of the former emir of Qatar and mother of the current ruler is famous for glitzy globetrotting philanthropy. Hardly a week goes by without her being pictured rubbing shoulders with Western Royals and Hollywood superstars. But while promoting world peace and education for children born into poverty, Sheikha Mozah also provides patronage for Sunni clerics whose views wouldn’t be out of place in ISIS-controlled Mosul or Raqqa.

The inconsistency in the roles of Sheikha Mozah, the publicity-friendly face of the richest little emirate in the world, highlights the deep contradictions at the heart of Qatar, which occupies a spit of desert jutting into the Persian Gulf.

The Qataris are terrified that they will get gobbled up by Saudi Arabia the way Kuwait was devoured briefly by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1990, says analyst David Weinberg with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank. “Their manpower shortage means that they will never be a hard military power, so they seek to build soft power by turning their money into international influence. The problem is the totally amoral way in which Doha seeks to do so.”

The 1,000-acre Education City hosts eight satellite campuses of Western universities, including Northwestern and Texas A&M. Students from the campuses are reported to have attended services at the new mosque and yet… since March there’s been this parade of infamous preachers.

It was the turn on May 1 of Salman al-Audah, a Saudi preacher who maintains Jews use “human blood” for Passover matzoh, “believing that this brings them close to their false god.”

“The choice that really takes the cake was the decision to host a Saudi cleric named Abdulaziz al-Fawzan on May 29,” says the FDD’s Weinberg, who has been monitoring the preacher rosters of landmark Qatari mosques.

Weinberg notes al-Fawzan preached at the Education City mosque just one week after ISIS mounted a suicide bombing in eastern Saudi Arabia targeting a Shia mosque that killed 21 people and injured more than a hundred others. Abdulaziz al-Fawzan is virulently anti-Shia and a few weeks before his sermon in Doha he declared on social media: “The history of the rafidha [derogatory term for Shia] is full of criminality and betrayal/treachery: wars and destruction, killing and assassinations, and conspiring with the enemies of the ummah, even to the point of poisoning and sorcery against those who oppose them, may Allah fight them, how deluded they are!”

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