CAIRO: The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) posted a Wednesday picture of its Interpol-wanted head Yusuf al-Qaradawy, based in Qatar, with radical Egyptian cleric Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud in what appears to be a hospital, signaling that Abdel Maqsoud has returned to Qatar.
“Some Egyptian brothers living [in Qatar,] who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or otherwise, requested to leave Qatar themselves. They sensed pressure from some brethren [Arab states] and on their own initiative asked to leave,” Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah told Al-Hayat newspaper Feb. 19, denying that the leaders of the Islamist group had been deported.
“[T]heir families and children are still in schools and we host them. This is their country and they can leave and come back anytime,” Al Attiyah said, one day after his country recalled its ambassador to Cairo over Egyptian accusations at the Arab League that the monarchy “supports terrorism.”
Abdel Maqsoud, who delivered violent sermons at the 2013 Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, left the monarchy to Turkey in September as part of Saudi-initiated reconciliation between Doha and Cairo. Seven Islamists and senior Muslim Brotherhood members, including radical clerics Wagdi Ghoneim and Essam Talima, reportedly left Qatar to Turkey in September as part of a Saudi-initiated reconciliation between Cairo and Doha.
Qaradawi, on the other hand, was placed on Interpol’s wanted list in December over helping prisoners to escape, arson and vandalism. His organization, IUMS, is not recognized by Al-Azhar, the most prestigious religious institution in the Islamic world.
The reconciliation initiative, led by late King Abdullah, faced difficulties with reporting by monarchy-owned Al-Jazeera perceived as “inciting,” and after Qatar objected to Egypt’s airstrikes on Islamic State group (IS) locations in Libya because Cairo “had failed to consult” with the Arab League prior to the strikes.