Qatar stands accused of supporting and funding the Nusra Front. The Qatari government helped broker the release of 13 nuns kidnapped by the group in December 2013. It brokered the August 2014 release of American hostage Peter Theo Curtis, as well as the September 2014 release of 45 U.N. peacekeepers.
On the release of the 45 U.N. peacekeepers, Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera called the peacekeepers “Fijian soldiers” that were kidnapped and “held” for two weeks by the Nusra Front. The article emphasizes that the peacekeeprs were reportedly in good condition and notes, “A UN spokesman said in New York on Thursday no ransom had been requested for the Fijian peacekeepers and none was paid.”
Nonetheless, rumors that Qatar paid the group a ransom fee soon circulated. Qatar’s foreign minister denied the claims, but Israel’s Channel 2 news station released video footage allegedly showing that Qatar paid the group $25 million in ransom.
Al Jazeera did not cover any follow-ups to the story, including the Channel 2 report and the foreign minister’s statement. The Al Jazeera article regarding the release of the peacekeepers ends by highlighting Qatar’s seemingly helpful role in the hostage release process: “US officials have said that Qatar played a critical role in persuading the Nusra Front to free American journalist Peter Theo Curtis last month, whom the front had been holding hostage since 2012.
On October 16, 2020, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” 18-year-old Abdoulakh Anzorov decapitated history teacher Samuel Paty in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Paty had recently received death threats after showing caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in class as part of a lesson on freedom of speech.