Hamas is not a terrorist organization and his country has nothing to do with terrorism, Qatari counterterrorism envoy Ambassador Mutlaq Al-Qahtani told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). But it all depends on your definition of terrorism. Al-Qahtani spoke April 9 at the National Press Club at an event sponsored by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) – a group that works to undermine the appeal of ISIS using counter-messaging videos.
“Qatar has not, does not, and will never support terrorism in any form,” Al-Qahtani said.
Terrorism is a subjective term, he said, and there is no globally-accepted definition. Qatar views Hamas as a “legitimate political force and governing party,” ICSVE founder Anne Speckhard wrote on her group’s website in January. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in 2014 that Hamas was not a terrorist group because it is “a very important component of the Palestinian people.”
Qatar has been a stalwart supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood for decades and especially since the 2011 Arab Spring. This support alienated Qatar from its neighbors and led to the decision last June by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to impose a land, sea and air blockade of Qatar. They issued a list of 59 terror-linked people and 12 allegedly terror-linked groups that they claimed Qatar supported. The blockade would continue, the three Gulf states said, until Qatar took action against them. Many of the people listed are also blacklisted by the U.S. government and by the United Nations.