Tensions erupt between UAE and Muslim Brotherhood

Ahram Online , Monday 12 Mar 2012

Comments from Youssef Qaradawi and Brotherhood spokesperson over Syrian activists in the UAE create tensions between the Gulf state and the Brotherhood

Youssef Al-Qaradawy (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian diplomatic sources stated on Monday to Al-Sharq Saudi newspaper that there is no diplomatic crisis between the governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. A crisis was seen to be brewing after a series of escalating sentences, notably by Mahmoud Ghozlan, the spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Tensions started when prominent Islamic scholar ‎Youssef El-Qaradawi, a veteran and influential member of Muslim Brotherhood criticised UAE's deportation of Syrian activists and their families from the Gulf state. He made the comments on his television program Al-Jazeera satellite news channel.

Dhahi Khalfan, the Dubai police chief then issued a warning, suggesting that if El-Qaradawi attacked the UAE or its rulers, Khalfan would request that Interpol issue a warrant to arrest him.

Mahmoud Ghozlan, the spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood, stepped into the fray warning Khalfan in a statement to an Emirati newspaper from arresting El-Qaradawi, saying that if they did arrest him, the whole Islamic world would stand against the UAE.

Ghozlan's comments generated an angry reaction from Emirati officials towards the Muslim Brotherhood. UAE minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Bi Zayed Al-Nahyan attacked the Brotherhood, for instance saying on the micro-blogging website Twitter, that "Egypt does not deserve than this kind of thinking" and demanding an official explanation for Ghozlan's comments. Meanwhile Khalfan continued to slam the Brotherhood accusing them of being a "danger to the Gulf’s security" and "American agents."

According to AFP UAE’s foreign affairs minister Anwar Karkash demanded an explanation his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr at the most recent meeting of Arab ministers of foreign affairs at the Arab League last Saturday.

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council also condemned Ghozlan's comments.

The Brotherhood responded by issuing an official statement on Monday stating that they are prepared to hold talks with the UAE in order to clear any misunderstanding. According to the statement, the comments attributed to Ghozlan were fabricated and exaggerated in order to create tensions at a critical time.

The unnamed Egyptian diplomatic sources who spoke to Al-Sharq added that there were diplomatic efforts to end the tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood and the UAE as soon as possible so that relations do not deteriorate.

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