Qatar Rejects Claims it Supports Islamic State
Qatar hit back over the weekend at suggestions that it supports the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, saying that "determined, collective action" is needed to end sectarian violence gripping Iraq and Syria, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The comments came after a German official last week suggested that Qatar may play a role in funding the Islamic State group, which is fighting in Iraq and Syria and recently beheaded American journalist James Foley.
Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah unequivocally denied funding the Islamic State group.
"Qatar does not support extremist groups, including ISIS, in any way," he was quoted by AP as having said in an emailed statement dated Saturday.
"We are repelled by their views, their violent methods and their ambitions. The vision of extremist groups for the region is one that we have not, nor will ever, support in any way," he declared.
Qatar was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to condemn Foley's murder, saying it was "a heinous crime that goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles, as well as international laws and conventions," al-Attiyah said, according to AP.
The country is known for its support of Hamas and its parent movement the Muslim Brotherhood, and has supported Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Al-Assad.
Germany's Development Minister Gerd Mueller suggested Wednesday that Qatar also could be supporting the group.
In a television interview with public broadcaster ZDF, Mueller said it was important to examine who is financing the group, and that "the key word is Qatar."
German officials quickly tried to smooth over that allegation.
Mueller spokeswoman Katharina Maenz told reporters Friday, according to AP, that he had merely been referring to media reports about Qatar's involvement.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schafer said German diplomats in the Qatari capital Doha had met with Qatari officials to reassure them that Berlin considers the country a partner and that "if there were misunderstandings then we regret this."