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Interpol alert no real threat: analyst

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An international security analyst believes Interpol’s red alert for Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi will not have any major impact unless the scholar leaves Qatar. The Egyptian born scholar has hit back at an arrest warrant issued by the international policing agency, insisting that he has neither killed anyone, nor been involved in any incitement of murder. The red notice comes at the request of Egyptian authorities, who are seeking to prosecute the aging scholar over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Qaradawi has been accused of being involved with the Brotherhood during its brief reign as the ruling government of Egypt. He is accused of being “incitement to commit murder”, as well as vandalism, theft, assisting prisoners to escape, amongst others. This all relates to incidents prior to a military coup that led to the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi.

Despite the warrant, there have been doubts over whether the Qatari government would actually go as far as to deport the scholar. Raffaello Pantucci, the director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, suggested the only real hindrance would be towards any travel plans the cleric may have in future.

“For them to suddenly turn around on the basis of an Interpol red notice and turn him over to Egyptian authorities, it would be very surprising. Especially when we can see around the world the Qataris do seem to be taking a different line on Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups,” he said.

The Qataris have shown notable support for the Muslim Brotherhood since it’s ousting; a stance that has severely deterred relations with the current Egyptian regime. With this in mind, he suspected the scholar may soon become a political chip between the two governments, for any future negotiations or discussion.

He said the reasoning of the red notice was likely an attempt by the Egyptian government to try and win visible support in its anti-Brotherhood struggle.

“I think it’s about the Egyptians trying to get more international legitimization of their cause. Again, the practical limitations of it are probably quite limited,” he said.

Al-Qaradawi has been particularly strong in his condemnation of the radical Islamic State (IS) group, whereas at the same time there have been claims leveled that some within the Qatari government have funded the group’s activities. Despite fears this may lead the Qataris to agree to his deportation, Pantucci was adamant this would not have much impact on the situation.

“The Qataris aren’t certainly going to hand him over, but I think the Egyptians will now just sort of use this to point fingers at the Qataris, and say that they are hindering them,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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