Gulf diplomatic crisis: UAE accuses Al-Jazeera of inciting hate, violence

Abu Dhabi: The anti-Qatar alliance has attacked the Doha-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera Arabic, accusing it of having "blood on its hands" and inciting hate, violence and discrimination.

Noura al Kaabi, the UAE Minister responsible for media regulation, told The Guardian the station had given a platform to "some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world" and needed to be subject to new and externally-monitored editorial controls.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The UAE also issued a hard-hitting five-minute video in which it accused Al-Jazeera Arabic of being responsible for radicalising one of the three men who mounted an attack at Borough Market in London last month, killing eight people, The Guardian said.

Earlier, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash in his answers to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Al Jazeera channel stressed that while the protection of the right of freedom of expression is of fundamental importance, this protection is not absolute, and restrictions on the right are permitted under international law to protect national security and public order. "Freedom of expression cannot be used to justify and shield the promotion of extremist narratives," Gargash wrote in his answer, according to a UAE embassy press release.

The UAE Minister, in his letter, made clear that Al-Jazeera's reporting has repeatedly crossed the threshold of incitement to hostility, violence and discrimination, and listed several examples of such content.

He also highlighted how Al-Jazeera has "promoted anti-Semitic violence" by broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in which he praised Hitler, described the Holocaust as "divine punishment", and called on Allah to "take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people … and kill them, down to the very last one," the release said.

The letter mentions that, over the years, Qatari-owned and controlled Al-Jazeera Arabic has provided a platform to Osama bin Laden (Al-Qaeda), Abu Muhammad al Jolani (Al-Nusra), Khaled Mashal (Hamas), Mohammed Deif (Hamas), Anwar al-Awlaki (Al-Qaeda), Hassan Nasrallah (Hizbullah), Ramadan Shallah (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), and Abdel Hakim Belhadj (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group), among others, saying these interviews gave opportunities for terrorist groups to threaten, recruit and incite, without challenge or restraint.

The letter reiterated that the UAE's strong objections to Al-Jazeera are not a matter of disagreement on its editorial standpoints, but are a direct and necessary response to its "persistent and dangerous incitement to hostility, violence and discrimination", the release said.

Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 18:47 PM

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