The Limit to Patience

  • 4 February 2014

Never did the UAE — the land of Zayed, the Father and Pioneer of Gulf unity and the launching site of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981 — imagine that a day will come when it would have to lodge an official complaint against another GCC member state that is not just a neighbor but shares a common destiny. The complaint, which was delivered by the UAE Foreign Ministry to Qatar’s Ambassador to the UAE, came after the offensive remarks made by Youssef Al-Qaradawi (who is based in Qatar) against the UAE and its principles. He supposedly uses the Qatari media and religious forums to enlighten people on religious and secular matters, but unfortunately chose to offend a Muslim nation whose constitution enshrines Islam as its official religion. It is a nation committed to reflecting the genuine image of Islam based on tolerance, coexistence and moderation and not the distorted image projected by Qaradawi and his ilk who promote sedition, hypocrisy and hatred.

Qaradawi continues to propagate his lies, using a brotherly neighboring country as a place for launching his diatribe. The UAE — which is known for its patience, wisdom and willingness to maintain good relations with sisterly and friendly states — hoped that its Qatari brothers would realize Qaradawi as a threat to GCC security and to Qatar itself, but this time he went too far and crossed unacceptable limits. Still, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt exercised patience, expecting Qatar to handle the situation on its own. However, Qatar did not take a decisive stand that would convince the UAE that the man would be stopped from offending the UAE, its principles and prominent figures. The UAE is still not convinced that Qardawi would not be allowed to use Qatari media or mosques to offend a brotherly nation.

No one can deny the UAE’s willingness to maintain good relations with GCC member states and to boost collective Gulf action. The UAE’s approach is based on reason and it is committed to maintaining and defending its national dignity and the pride of its leadership and people. The UAE’s self-restraint should be properly construed.

The UAE’s complaint, a step which was taken after great deliberation, is intended to maintain a transparent and honest relationship with Qatar and to stop the likes of Qaradawi from vitiating time-tested relations with sisterly Arab countries.