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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jews & Qatar: That Small Fishing Village and What Oil Has Done For It

Nadene Goldfoot
Qatar and its Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, has made the news in Portland by supplying Lincoln High with a teacher of Arabic.  It's one of only 5 schools in the USA thus endowed.  One of the important facts is that the Emir of Qatar has established many educational sites throughout the USA.  His religious leader, Qaradawi,  is a major leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.  With that in mind, I personally hope that the textbooks used to learn reading stick to bland subjects and do not bring in political issues.   

Qatar was just a little fishing and pearling village and sea port at Doha after WWI.   At the end of WWI it was ruled by the al-Thani family. When oil was discovered in 1950 , this shaykhdom  changed dramatically. At that time their population was about 30,000.  Of those people, at least 20,000 were related to, or in the service of the al-Thani family.   With this discovery, the population increased eightfold.  By 1981 it was 250,000 with a per capita income of $29,000.  Their oil revenues accounted for 90% of its GNP.  Food must be imported.  Trading partners have been Britain, Japan, Western Europe and the USA.  It is not a part of the United Arab Emirates.  That's because its geographical position and their history is with Bahrayn, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  A large number of immigrant workers are mostly from Iran and Pakistan. 

In February 1972, Shaykh Khalifa, deputy ruler and prime minister, deposed his cousin, Shaykh Ahmad and took the throne.  Qatar had announced that by 1970, a Basic Law that included a bill of rights.  It has not gone very far as yet.  Shaykh Kalifa's reign has used the oil revenues in petroleum and gas-related industries, infrastructure projects, building, social services and light industry. 

By 1977 it set up the Qatar General Petroleum Corporation to regulate and control the oil industry.  They went into a number of joint ventures with foreign firms and expanded the port at Doha and industrial and port facilities of Umm Said.  It also bought into the Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Company in 1982 as a 10% shareholder. 

In 1995 the present Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his own father in a bloodless palace coup.  He is all for the Muslim Brotherhood which has exerted a profound influence on the conservative Bedouin society of Qatar.  That's because the Emir is so impresssed by their piety and morality so that he gave them his trust and let them carry out a wide range of religious and cultural activities.  (One of their goals is to kill all Jews and drive Israel into the sea.)  They helped to set up the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as an institute of religious studies;  two institutions that the emirate lacked. 

Qatar is active on the Gulf cooperation council, the Arab League, OAPEC, OPEC, and the UN. today they have a population of 547,761  of which are 100% Muslims.  It wound up sharing many of the economic and political problems of Bahrayn as well.  It is worth mentioning that Bahrayn has been under the control of the al-Khalifa family since the late 18th century.  Bahrayn or Bahrain has 590,042 population and they are also 100% Muslims. 

With the typical Muslim attitude toward Jews, they present us  with their anti-semitic stereotypes in their newspapers.  The ADL has protested.  The USA has an air force base in Qatar, and of course we have Jews in the air force.  During Passover two seders were served there for the Jewish servicemen. 

Strangely, on January 10, 2004, a US-Islamic Forum was held in Doha sponsosred by a Project on US Policy Towards Islamic World  which is funded by the Saban Center. Haim  Saban is an Egyptian born American Israeli entertainment mogul.  He  attended as a USA representative.  One Israeli  attended, Martin Kramer, the editor of the Middle East Quarterly.  

By 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Qatar's Education City and was introduced by Sheikh Abdallah al-Thani, who commented that there are now 6  universities from the USA that have branches in Qatar.  Their Education City is just a short walk from the Al-Qaradawi Center for Research in Moderate Thought, named for Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi who is barred from entering the US as he has called for the destruction of America and for the annihilation of the Jews.  I wonder what they consider as "moderate thought." 

Textbook:  MiddleEast  Past &I Present by Yahya Armajani, Thomas M. Ricks 1970, 2nd edition
MEMRI  Sheikh al-Qaradawi & Qatar's Education City HOsting American University Branches

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