In a letter made public by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on their official website on Wednesday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar television news outlet Al Jazeera of promoting antisemitism, supporting terrorist groups, and incitement to violence.
Written on Sunday, the four-page letter was addressed to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, as a rebuttal to the UN Special Rapporteur’s statement on June 30, that the demands to close Al Jazeera network are against freedom of expression.
Gargash defended the demand to close the station by explaining that, “Freedom of expression cannot be used to justify and shield the promotion of extremist narratives.” He also added that, “It is the international community’s responsibility to remain vigilant as the media and new technologies are being exploited by terrorists and their supporters to disseminate extremist ideologies, as well as mobilizing, recruiting, inspiring followers, and raising funding.”
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs further stated that, “Al Jazeera is a platform for spreading terrorist ideology,” by conducting interviews with leaders of various terror organizations such as Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki of al-Qaida, Khaled Mashal and Mohammed Deif of Hamas, and Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah.
Gargash also called out Al Jazeera for promoting antisemitic violence in its programming, citing an example where Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi in one of his broadcasted sermons on the Qatar-based network, “described the Holocaust as ‘divine punishment’ during which ‘Hitler… put [the Jews] in their place.’”
This comes after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Maldives and Egypt completely cut ties with Qatar in early June, including the country’s television channel. Reports that Israel was considering shutting down Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office also surfaced in June.