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Iran, Turkey and Qatar excluded from Egypt Quran recitation competition

Spokesperson from Egypt's Ministry of Endowments cites "political reasons"

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Apr 2015
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Tamim bin Hamad al Thani
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) sits with Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani upon his arrival ahead of the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 28, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's Ministry of Endowments has excluded participants from Iran, Turkey and Qatar from its International Quran Recitation Competition, Mohamed Abdel Razik, the ministry's official spokesperson said on Sunday.

In media statements to  Egyptian TV channel LTC, Abdel Razik said that the ministry had excluded the Iranian, Turkish and Qatari participants from the annual competition for "political reasons."

"We have bad relations with these countries, which fund terrorist organisations, support radical Islamists and atheists, and try to spread Shia beliefs within society," he said.

Egypt has been incensed by both Qatar and Turkey's criticism of its government since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, as well as their hosting several exiled leaders of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Qatar has however recently distanced itself from the Brotherhood by deporting some of its members to other countries, including Turkey.

Egypt recalled its ambassador to Doha in February over political tensions linked to Egyptian air strikes on Libya, and the cabinet said on 6 March that the diplomat would not return.  

Qatar's ambassador to Egypt however resumed work at his office in Cairo in late March, and Qatar and Egypt are however now both backing the ongoing Saudi-led military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Egyptian-Turkish official relations have also been strained since Morsi's ouster, with Turkish president Erodgan repeatedly demanding the release of the former president, who is currently standing trial in four separate cases in Egypt.

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