Qatar has expelled at least seven leaders associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The removal of these leaders comes as an attempt by other countries in the region to pressure Qatar to stop supporting the radical group, which it traditionally supports, according to The New York Times.
Officials said Saturday that seven of its leaders have been told by Qatar to leave within a week “to spare Qatar embarrassment.” Amr Darrag, a leader for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in an online statement on their website, “We appreciate the great role of the State of Qatar in supporting the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta, and well understand the circumstances faced by the region.”
The statement continues:
“In order to avoid causing any embarrassment for the State of Qatar, which we found to be a very welcoming and supportive host, some symbols of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing – the Freedom and Justice Party – who were asked by authorities to move their residence outside the State of Qatar, have now honored that request.”
With at least seven officials departing Qatar, more could be on the way out in the coming weeks and months.
Pressure to enforce the Riyadh Agreement, a pact between Gulf nations that bans terrorist activities, could have been a catalyst for the departure of the FJP leaders, as United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have pulled their ambassadors from Qatar. All of these countries view the Brotherhood as a terrorist threat. The UAE and the Saudis invested billions in ousting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
Qatar had been a supporter of the Brotherhood, which angered the UAE and the Saudis, according to The Associated Press–with tensions mounting since Morsi’s departure. Since the Brotherhood’s deposing in Egypt, other than being labeled a terrorist group, the FJP has been outlawed altogether; and Al-Jazeera’s offices in Cairo have been shut down. The Qatari-owned network has been accused of aiding the FJP and the Brotherhood in the past.
A Qatari diplomat who spoke anonymously to The New York Times, however, said there was no official request for the Brotherhood leaders to leave Qatar; and they were free to stay if they wanted.
“Maybe for some of them, they saw from the media that the country is being pressed and they left of their own free will because they did not want to put the country in an embarrassing situation.”
Along with Qatar, The New York Times also reports that Istanbul and London are other locations for exiled Egyptian Islamists.
Photo: Egypt Independent
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom