Qatari Emir's mother publicly condemns West

In a surprise rebuke, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Missned accuses the West of 'dehumanisation' of Muslims and Muslim-phobia during a speech in Oxford.
Qatari Emir's mother publicly condemns West
(Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Wed 27 May 2015 02:22 PM

The mother of the Qatari Emir has made a rare public condemnation of the West, accusing it of “dehumanisation” of Muslims and Muslim-phobia, according to a report in The Guardian.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Missned, one of the most influential Arab women in the world, said Muslims were “confronted with double standards” when it came to responses to attacks and criticised descriptions of radicals as “medieval”.

“Why is it that world leaders gathered to march in defence of Charlie Hebdo, while the Chapel Hill murders were shrugged off as a parking dispute?” she asked, in a reference to the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina in February, during a speech at St Antony’s College, Oxford, on Tuesday.

“At the same time we are confronted with double standards. Why is it that apologies are offered when Europeans are mistakenly killed by drones but only silence follows when innocent Yemeni and Pakistani children and civilians are killed by the same drones? Why do Muslim lives seem to matter less than the lives of others? If they matter at all.

“I believe this dehumanisation is cultivated through a process of Muslim-phobia.”

The second of three wives to the former Emir who handed over power to his son in 2013, Sheikha Moza also questioned why Muslims were first and foremost referred to by their religion and accused some in the West of taking advantage of the radical militants’ politicisation of Islam to defame the religion.

Alongside a genuine interest in Islamic civilisation, there existed a fear of real, living Muslims, Sheikha Moza was quoted as saying. Neo-orientalists and libertarians “defame Islam, and the prophet, in particular”.

“For example, a Muslim is first and foremost identified as a Muslim, rather than simply a human being. Whether they are Pakistani, Malaysian, Senegalese, or even British-born, their multiple identities are levelled under a constructed monolith of Islam,” she said.

“Let me remind you, however, that Islam has never been monolithical, but has from the start been a vast container for diverse cultures and ethnicities. The homogenisation of Muslims into a fearful and unknowable ‘other’, separate from the beauty and nobility of Islam and its civilisation, is at the root of Muslim-phobia.

“The radical militants put forth a version of Islam devoid of its spiritual content and subtlety of interpretation, nothing more than a violent political slogan.”

It was wrong to use the word “medieval” to describe the actions of radicals, she said, according to The Guardian.

“But why do we insinuate that somehow those who are perpetuating certain acts of violence do not belong to our age? That somehow they are not modern? It is a naïve refusal to accept our collective responsibility.

“ISIS is as modern as Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. They are all products of our age.”

Sheikha Moza warned “activism can quickly change to militancy” if autocratic leaders are not replaced, showing support for Qatar’s policy of backing Islamist groups during her husband’s reign. Qatar fell out with some of its fellow GCC member states in recent years over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt, where it reportedly sent billions of dollars.

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.