The official Qatari chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood disbanded in 1999,Christa Case Bryant, “Behind Qatar’s bet on the Muslim Brotherhood,” Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2014, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0418/Behind-Qatar-s-bet-on-the-Muslim-Brotherhood. but Qatar has continued to provide the organization with financial, media and diplomatic support including through the Qatari-owned satellite network Al Jazeera, which has been accused of bias toward the Brotherhood.Christia Case Bryant, “Behind Qatar’s bet on the Muslim Brotherhood,” Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2014, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0418/Behind-Qatar-s-bet-on-the-Muslim-Brotherhood. Qatar is also home to prominent Brotherhood leaders such as the group’s spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.“Al Qaradawi in Al Azhar,” Asharq al-Awsat, July 17, 2008, http://www.aawsat.net/2008/07/article55258254/al-qaradawi-in-al-azhar;
Habib Toumi, “Cleric Yousef Al Qaradawi denies he is leaving Doha,” gulfnews.com, April 20, 2014, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/cleric-yousuf-al-qaradawi-denies-he-is-leaving-doha-1.1321789. Khaled Meshaal, the former leader of the Brotherhood offshoot Hamas, has long been based in Qatar.“Hamas Political Chiefs Exit Syria,” BBC News, February 28, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17192278.
Qatar has a long history of supporting the Brotherhood and its offshoots. During the Brotherhood’s year in power in Egypt, Qatar loaned President Mohammed Morsi’s government approximately $7.5 billion.“Egypt has paid back $500 million to Qatar: central bank governor,” Reuters, October 11, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/11/us-egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSKCN0I009A20141011. Qatar also reportedly aided Morsi’s regime with grants and “energy supplies,” according to Reuters.“Egypt to repay $2.5 bln Qatari deposit at end-Nov-Cbank source,” Reuters, November 6, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/06/egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSL6N0SW1U420141106. During Morsi’s presidency, funds as high as $850,000 were reportedly secretly transferred to the Brotherhood from Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/. A document dated March 28, 2013, details the allocation of funds from Hamad bin Jassim to a “long list” of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders.Paul Alster, “Secret Document Appears to Show Qatar Payoffs to Key Morsi Cronies,” Fox News, June 9 2013, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/09/secret-document-appears-to-show-qatar-payoffs-to-key-morsi-cronies/ Egyptian courts have also charged Morsi and his aides with leaking state secrets to Qatar.“Egyptian court puts ousted president Mursi on trial over Qatar link,” Reuters, February 15, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/15/us-egypt-mursi-idUSKBN0LJ0ET20150215;
“Deposed Egyptian president Mursi to face military court,” Reuters, February 17, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/17/us-egypt-court-idUSKBN0LL1JX20150217;
“Egyptian court recommends death penalty for journalists, Mursi verdict postponed,” Reuters, May 7, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-court-idUSKCN0XY0A9.
Qatar has also provided political and economic support to Hamas, the Brotherhood’s most notorious offshoot. In 2008, Doha reportedly pledged $250 million to Hamas one year after the terror group violently seized control of the Gaza Strip.Adnan Abu Amer, “Hamas Ties to Qatar Have Cost,” Al Monitor, April 22, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/hamas-qatar-relationship-independence.html. In 2012, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani became the first head of state to visit Gaza, pledging $400 million to Hamas.Jodi Rudoren, “Qatar’s Emir Visits Gaza, Pledging $400 Million to Hamas,” New York Times, October 23, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/world/middleeast/pledging-400-million-qatari-emir-makes-historic-visit-to-gaza-strip.html. Since then, the Qatari government has continued to send money to Hamas. In July 2016, Qatar announced a payment of $30 million to Hamas-hired workers in Gaza.“Qatar Says Gives $30 Million to Pay Gaza Public Sector Workers,” Reuters, July 22, 2016, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-palestinians-gaza-qatar-idUKKCN1021B6.
Qatar has also long hosted a Hamas delegation, enabling the group to set up an office in Doha. Khaled Meshaal, the former leader of Hamas, has held press conferences on behalf of the terrorist group at internationally owned businesses in Qatar, including at the Four Seasons hotel and the Sheraton Doha (owned by Marriott).Elizabeth Dickinson, “The Case Against Qatar,” Foreign Policy, September 30, 2014, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/30/the-case-against-qatar/;
Jenna Lifhits, “Hamas Again Forced to Move Event Announcing Its New Charter,” Weekly Standard, May 1, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/hamas-again-forced-to-move-event-announcing-its-new-charter/article/2007852. Meshaal has previously resided “in the most luxurious hotel in the most beautiful district [in Qatar],” according to one Egyptian television host.Globes, “The Corruption at the Head of Hamas,” Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Business/Business-Features/The-corruption-at-the-head-of-Hamas-363550. Meshaal is also reported to own four towers and a commercial center on a seven-acre plot in Qatar, developed by a domestic real estate agency.Globes, “The Corruption at the Head of Hamas,” Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Business/Business-Features/The-corruption-at-the-head-of-Hamas-363550. Qatar has repeatedly denied rumors that Meshaal was evicted from Qatar, and in 2015 called him a “dear guest of Qatar.”Peter Kovessy, “Qatar FM: Hamas leader to remain in Doha as ‘dear guest’,” Doha News, January 13, 2015, https://dohanews.co/qatar-fm-hamas-leader-remain-doha-dear-guest/.
Qatar has hosted other internationally sanctioned Hamas officials as well. In June 2017, following pressure from several neighboring Gulf States, Qatar finally evicted U.S.-sanctioned Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas military leader and financier who has directed Hamas military operations from both Turkey and Qatar.“Treasury Sanctions Major Hamas Leaders, Financial Facilitators and a Front Company,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 10, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0159.aspx;
Avi Issacharoff, “PA Security Raids Hamas Cell Planning Attacks Against Israelis,” Times of Israel, March 8, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-security-raids-hamas-cell-planning-attacks-against-israelis/. Additionally, after Ismail Haniyeh won Hamas’s May 2017 internal elections, the New York Times reported that Haniyeh would move to Qatar. Haaretz later reported that Haniyeh intended to travel between Gaza and Qatar, though the plans would be largely dependent on whether Egypt would allow him to exit Gaza.Jack Khoury, “Analysis No Reconciliation in Sight: Abbas’ Team Is Unenthused by Hamas’ New Leadership,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), May 8, 2017, http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.787690;
Adam Rasgon, “Hamas Leader: Haniyeh To Return To Gaza After Qatar Stint,” Jerusalem Post, November 22, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Hamas-leader-Haniyeh-to-return-to-Gaza-after-Qatar-stint-473328.
In addition to supporting the Brotherhood and Hamas through political and economic means, Qatar also stands accused of promoting extremist groups like the Brotherhood and others through Qatar-run news outlet Al Jazeera. Iraq banned the channel in April 2016 and Egypt has arrested several Al Jazeera reporters on charges of supporting the Brotherhood.“Former imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist says Canadian PM betrayed him,” Deutsche Welle, April 28, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/former-imprisoned-al-jazeera-journalist-says-canadian-pm-betrayed-him/a-18779904;
“Al Jazeera says it has been banned from Iraq over its reporting,” Deutsche Welle, April 28, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/al-jazeera-says-it-has-been-banned-from-iraq-over-its-reporting/a-19221499;
Louisa Loveluck, “Egypt arrests al-Jazeera journalists,” Guardian (London), December 30, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/30/egypt-arrests-al-jazeera-journalists. Al Jazeera has long broadcast a program hosted by Qatari-based Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi, famous for his incitement against Americans, gay people, and Jews. Qaradawi has also expressed support for domestic violence against women.Melanie Phillips, The World Turned Upside Down (New York: Encounter Books, 2010), 214; “Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Homosexuals Should Be Punished Like Fornicators But Their Harm Is Less When Not Done in Public,” MEMRI, June 5, 2006, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/1170.htm;
“Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror,” Anti-Defamation League, March 15, 2011, http://archive.adl.org/nr/exeres/788c5421-70e3-4e4d-bff4-9be14e4a2e58,db7611a2-02cd-43af-8147-649e26813571,frameless.html. Yigal Carmon, president of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told the Washington Post that Al Jazeera attacks the military and defends the Brotherhood “in every way possible.”Paul Farhi, “Al Jazeera Faces Criticism in Egypt over Its Coverage of Muslim Brotherhood,” Washington Post, January 6, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/al-jazeera-faces-criticism-in-egypt-over-its-coverage-of-muslim-brotherhood/2014/01/05/04a397f4-74b3-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html.
Qatar refused to join its Gulf neighbors when a number of states labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization in 2013 and 2014. However, in mid-September 2014, top Brotherhood members claimed that they had been “asked to leave Qatar” as the small Arab country came under pressure from neighbors to cut off support for the Brotherhood.David D. Kirkpatrick, “Muslim Brotherhood Says Qatar Ousted Its Members,” New York Times, September 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world/middleeast/bowing-to-pressure-qatar-asks-some-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-to-leave.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East%C2%AEion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article. An unnamed Qatari diplomat told the New York Times that Qatar had not forced the Brotherhood members out and that they were welcome to return.David D. Kirkpatrick, “Muslim Brotherhood Says Qatar Ousted Its Members,” New York Times, September 13, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world/middleeast/bowing-to-pressure-qatar-asks-some-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-to-leave.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East%C2%AEion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article.
In June 2017, several Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in response to that country’s ongoing support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist and internationally-sanctioned terrorist groups.Patrick Wintour, “Gulf Plunged into Diplomatic Crisis as Countries Cut Ties with Qatar,” Guardian (London), Jne 5, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/05/saudi-arabia-and-bahrain-break-diplomatic-ties-with-qatar-over-terrorism. In response, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the Associated Press that the country has the right to support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.Malak Harb and Jon Gambrell, “Arab Nations Add Names to Terror List amid Qatar Dispute,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://apnews.com/0f252c487b7b431682a3555f68703eeb. Speaking about Hamas—the Brotherhood’s most notorious offshoot—Al Thani called it “a legitimate resistance movement.”“Qatari FM Insists Hamas ‘a Legitimate Resistance Movement,’” Times of Israel, June 10, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/qatari-fm-insists-hamas-a-legitimate-resistance-movement/. The United States has routinely criticized Qatar for its support of Hamas.Associated Press, “US Congress criticises Qatar support for Hamas,” Gulf News, November 16, 2017, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-crisis/us-congress-criticises-qatar-support-for-hamas-1.2125553.
In June 2018, two American consultants employed by the Qatari government to improve its image in the United States resigned over Qatar’s continued support of Qaradawi.“US advisers quit Qatar role as emir dines with Muslim Brotherhood leader,” The National (Abu Dhabi), June 7, 2018, https://www.thenational.ae/world/gcc/us-advisers-quit-qatar-role-as-emir-dines-with-muslim-brotherhood-leader-1.737981. In April 2019, French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot published The Qatar Papers – How the Emirate Finances Islam in France and Europe. The book details Qatari financial support for 140 mosques and Islamic centers throughout Europe, including several linked to Brotherhood-related individuals and groups. Among the groups and individuals the authors cite in the book is the Geneva-based museum Le Musée des civilisations de l’Islam, which allegedly displays Muslim Brotherhood propaganda and received 1.4 million Swiss francs from Qatar.“Qatar ‘spent huge sums on Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe,’” The National (Abu Dhabi), April 5, 2019, https://www.thenational.ae/world/qatar-spent-huge-sums-on-muslim-brotherhood-groups-in-europe-1.845510; “French book reveals how Qatar funded Muslim Brotherhood mosques in Europe,” Al Arabiya, April 7, 2019, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/04/07/French-book-reveals-how-Qatar-funded-Muslim-Brotherhood-mosques-in-Europe-.html. The authors further allege they found multiple books by Qaradawi when they visited mosques and schools funded by Qatar around Europe.Sami Moubayed, “How Qatar funds Muslim Brotherhood expansion in Europe,” Gulf News, April 17, 2019, https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/qatar/how-qatar-funds-muslim-brotherhood-expansion-in-europe-1.63386835.
Qatar has not designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.