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Friday, July 23, 2021

Backlash as UAE-funded movie appears to portray Qatar as ‘terrorist state’

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The Emirates-funded Hollywood movie has been accused of discrediting Qatar’s  reputation. 

New Hollywood movie “The Misfits” is alleged to be yet another Emirati attempt to portray Qatar as a terrorist state and a global financier of terrorism, prominent journalists have claimed.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) funded film, which is co-produced, filmed, and financed by the Emirati owned independent film production company FilmGate Production, in partnership with Paramount Pictures and Highland Film Group, tells the story of savvy thief Richard Pace, played by Pierce Brosnan, who escapes from a high-security American prison and goes on to steal millions from the world’s most secure facilities.

Produced by Emirati producer, director, and writer Mansoor AlDhaheri, the movie is set between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Los Angeles, and is an attempt to “put Abu Dhabi on the global entertainment map and show the world what we’re truly capable of”, according to the AlDhaheri.

“Today, we are proud to say that FilmGate has produced, filmed, and financed a Hollywood movie from start to finish right in the heart of our Capital, and partnered with industry leaders such as Paramount Pictures and Highland Film Group to bring it to audiences everywhere. None of this would have been possible without the support extended to us by the UAE and its wise leadership,” AlDhaheri said, according to UAE-based Khaleej Times.

While the movie has been praised in the UAE, prominent media figures and journalists abroad have criticised the UAE for paying millions of dollars to allegedly offend Qatar, its leadership, people and Muslim religious figures, most notably Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

Read also: OPINION: The Gulf crisis has not been solved but managed 

In the movie, the director refers to Qatar as “Jazeeristan” and accuses its citizens of supporting terrorist organisations while Abu Dhabi’s mercenaries are depicted as heroes.

The film deliberately portrays Qatar-based Egyptian Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as “the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the sponsor of global terrorism.” In one scene, a red Lekhwiya car is seen – in clear reference to Qatar’s Lekhwiya Internal Security Force.

Broad criticism

In a video posted online, Egyptian journalist, Mohamed Nasser, said the movie is nothing more than an attempt by the UAE to “destroy Qatar’s reputation”.

“They seek to convince the world that Abu Dhabi is ready to shoot films.”

One twitter user who watched the leaked copy of the movie described it as “absurd” and not worthy of feedback. “Shame on whoever funded this nonsense,” he added.

Meanwhile, prominent Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist, Jamal Rayyan, described the UAE funded movie as “immoral,” stressing that “the Emirates will regret it, and time will tell.”

In another tweet, Al Jazeera’s Rayyan, described that UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed as the Emirates’ own James Bond who has “outperformed the Israeli foreign minister in distorting facts and instigating the West to portray resistance as terrorism.” 

In a series of tweet, Dr. Muhammad Al-Kubaisi also took aim at the film.

“God, do not bless the Emirati leadership. They are using Hollywood and producing a movie called The Misfits, which costed them more than 50 million dollars to damage Qatar’s reputation and accuse its peaceful society of terrorism,” he said.

“I do not know why exactly the UAE wants to damage Qatar’s reputation? Is it because we are Muslims and united with God and it wants to eliminate Islam and Muslims? Does the UAE want to distance Qatar from the essence of Islam and support of Muslims everywhere?

“Does the UAE want Qatar to remain silent amid its normalisation and the deal of the century? We will not be silent about the criminal acts against the holy sites and the right of our Palestinian brothers,” he added.

“Does the UAE want Qatar to become a subsidiary of it like some islands? They missed the fact that Qatar has never submitted to anyone except to God.

“The people of the Emirates are Muslim citizens who fear God, but we doubt the intentions of those who lead the people of this country,” he continued. 

[Twitter]
In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties with Doha and imposed an illegal, air, land and sea blockade.

The signing of the Al-Ula Declaration on January 5th this year paved the way for the restoration of ties between the quartet and Qatar.

Shortly after the signing of the accord, the UAE reopened its airspace for Qatar’s airlines and reportedly resumed trade activities, with reports suggesting an oil shipment between the two countries was reported earlier in March.

However, despite the signing of the accord, media hostilities have persisted.

Most recently, delegates at the Federation of African Journalists [FAJ], a Pan-African organisation, denounced attempts believed to be perpetrated by the UAE to manipulate journalists in Africa to participate in a campaign against Qatar’s ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The signatories of a statement slammed the UAE’s suspicious movements and attempts to rally African journalists against the World Cup in Qatar by trying to manipulating members of the press into inaccurately covering the events in the Gulf state.

Read also: GCC crisis: Where does Qatar stand with former blockading quartet?

In another incident, the UAE’s ambassador to Israel Mahmoud Al-Khaja attacked Qatar’s leading broadcaster Al Jazeera while visiting the chief of a right wing Israeli movement that called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

He accused Al Jazeera of shifting the narrative of the events in the apartheid state and not reflecting the so-called truth. The comments were made just weeks after Al Jazeera’s media building in Gaza was completely levelled by Israeli airstrikes during an 11-day indiscriminate bombing campaign on the besieged Strip.

Meanwhile, digital analysts and experts have pointed towards several anti-Qatar social media campaigns that were reportedly launched by the UAE.

Speaking to Doha News, Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Professor at Georgetown University in Qatar [GU-Q] said: “I think we have entered a new phase in the evolution of the GCC where there’s a new realisation by the Qatari leadership that it cannot and should not trust other members, at least Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

“But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t maintain friendly relations with them. Having friendly relations and trust are two different things,” Dr. Kamrava added.


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