Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Bizarre Arab rumor: Qatar gave $250M to Hamas - to protect Egypt's Morsi

Arab media are quoting a Gulf News Bahrain article that claims to have uncovered a government letter proving that Qatar paid $250 million to Hamas - in order to protect Egyptian President Morsi.

According to the rumor, the letter is from Assistant Qatari Foreign Minister Ali Bin Fahad Alshahuati Hajri to Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, confirming the transfer of the qusrter billion dollars on the orders of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, to Khaled Meshaal by Qatar Central Bank, in order to "help empower the Egyptian president and preserve his life and the stability of the administration of the country for as long as possible."

A quick glance at even the poor quality of this "letter" indicates a bad cut and paste job of the text underneath a Qatari foreign ministry letterhead; the two parts are not even in alignment. Apparently someone created this on Facebook and it was picked up as news in many Arab media outlets.

The fact that it was spread so quickly indicates that there are many, many Arabs who are alarmed by Morsi's Islamism - and they believe that the easiest way to discredit him is to link him to Hamas!

So even though the rumor holds no water, the existence of the rumor does tell us a lot about what many Arabs - specifically Gulf Arabs - think about the Islamist takeover of Egypt, and especially that they have no love for Hamas, and for Qatar's recent financial and political support of Hamas.