Under Fire, Qatar Asks Brotherhood Leaders to Leave


Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo on the first anniversary of removal of Mohamed Morsi.
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo on the first anniversary of removal of Mohamed Morsi.

Associated Press

CAIRO – Leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group and allied clerics said on Saturday that they are departing Qatar, where they had sought refuge following the ouster of Egypt’s president Mohammed Mursi.
The expulsion threatens to further isolate the group, which rose to power in Egypt through a string of post-Arab Spring elections but suffered a dramatic fall from grace during Mursi’s divisive year in office.

Former minister Amr Darrag, who was also the top foreign affairs official in the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and fiery cleric Wagdi Ghoneim said they are leaving Qatar following a request to do so by the Gulf government.

“I decided to move outside of the beloved Qatar … so as not to cause any annoyance, embarrassment or problems for our brothers in Qatar,” Ghoneim said in a video message posted on his official Facebook page.

Darrag, in a statement posted on his page, said, “we value the role of Qatar in supporting the Egyptian people in its revolution against the coup. We understand well the conditions it is facing in the region.”

The highest ranking member of the group residing in Qatar is Mahmoud Hussein, the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Rassd, a news agency affiliated with the group, Hussein is among those who will be leaving the country. The agency said they will be searching for another base in exile, possibly Turkey.

Egypt has branded the group a terrorist organization, outlawed its political party and shut down Al Jazeera’s offices in Cairo.

The Brotherhood is outlawed in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Brotherhood’s news agency Rassd said the decision to leave Qatar was made in part to “decrease tensions with Gulf countries.”

Earlier this month Egypt charged Mursi, two of his aides and an Al Jazeera editor with conspiring to leak classified state security documents to Qatar. The country’s top prosecutor described the case as “the biggest treason and espionage case in the country’s history.”

The leaked documents allegedly included intelligence on military deployments and armaments, as well as domestic and foreign policies.

The prosecutor said Mursi’s assistants leaked the documents with the help of Al Jazeera journalists to a Qatari intelligence official in exchange for $1 million.

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