Posted on October 06, 2017

The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Qatar University (QU) yesterday held a seminar on “The accusations against Qatar of supporting terrorism” aimed to address the issue of terrorism from an academic, legal and political perspective.

Speakers were QU College of Sharia and Islamic Studies (CSIS) Dean Dr Yousuf Al-Siddiqi, QU College of Law (LAWC) Dean Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, and QU Professor of Political Sociology Dr Majed Al-Ansari. The seminar was moderated by QU Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) Director Dr Hassan Abdulrahim Al-Sayed. Attendees included QU faculty, staff and students, as well as representatives of the local media.

Dr Hassan Abdulrahim Al-Sayed highlighted the different phases of the blockade imposed on Qatar. He noted that the blockade against Qatar is an ethical crisis at the first place, pointing to the speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in which he said: “We have been very saddened to see how some countries have used defamation and fictions against Qatar to stir political malice against us in the West. This is a disgrace under all norms: first because the allegations are baseless, and secondly because they have wrongfully prejudiced. Do we not teach our children at a young age that lying and malicious snitching are two of the worst vices? Is slander and tarnishing a reputation not a crime punishable by law in all civilized countries?”

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Dr Yousuf Al-Siddiqi also pointed to the speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in which he said: “We must focus on the roots and causes of terrorism”. He noted that the cultural, economic and social blockade against Qatar caused a negative impact on the structure of the Gulf community and a violation to the traditions and values. He also noted that the list of the 13 demands issued by the siege countries is not backed by proof and focuses on two main issues -- shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations and sever ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He said: “Qatar plays a pivotal role on the regional and international arena. This caused the emergence of many adversaries among its neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The State of Qatar does not follow any political agenda led by Saudi Arabia or any other country.”

Dr Yousuf Al-Siddiqi further noted that the political perspective of the blockade countries lies on military anticipation, substituting the concept of settlement with the concept of force, the concept of justice with the concept of blockade, and the concept of self-defense with the concept of terrorism. He said: “The blockade imposed on Qatar is a violation to the principles of the international law, and will cause new crises in the region such as the establishment of new military, political and economic alliances, and the division of the Gulf region and the UAE.”

Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi noted that the main three demands of the siege countries -- sever all ties to “terrorist organizations”, stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists, and hand over “terrorist figures” and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin -- are a violation to the principles of the international law. He said: “The siege countries updated their list of demands and urged the other states to support them. This is a violation of a great number of international law principles such as the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs, the principle of equality in sovereignty, and the principle of implementing the international obligations in good faith and not to abandon them based on a unilateral will without reasonable justification, among many others.”

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He also noted that the international law prohibits any country to impose its own law or definition of a specific term on another state. The siege countries do not have the right to provide a definition of terrorism and to impose it on other states, he said, adding, “There is no international law which obliges countries to hand over wanted individuals. Extradition occurs only when specific, bilateral treaties exist between countries. Extradition agreements usually decree that the offence which has triggered the extradition request must be considered a crime in both countries. Many treaties provide for political and human rights exemptions, which can prevent the extradition of a person who is accused of political crimes.”

Dr Majed Al-Ansari gave a brief overview on the analytical history of terrorism according to William Shughart, highlighting three stylized waves: terrorism in the service of national liberation and ethnic separatism, left-wing terrorism, and Islamist terrorism. He also pointed to the complexity of providing a specific definition to the term “terrorism”. He said: “Terror wars take the form of an unjustifiable targeting of civilians under the pretext of terrorism (Iraq and Afghanistan), repression of people under the pretext of terrorism (Egypt and Israel), and the extortion of governments under the pretext of terrorism (the blockade imposed on Qatar)”.