In an episode of Al Kass Sports Channel’s ‘Majlis’ programme, prominent presenter Khalid Jassim hosted a controversial Egyptian journalist who previously made offensive remarks against Qatar.
Social media users were left outraged after a pro-Sisi Egyptian journalist appeared on the Qatar-based Al Kass TV despite previously accusing the Gulf state of “sheltering terrorists”.
Abu El Maaty Zaki, who claimed Qatar repeatedly “killed” his people and “sheltered terrorists”, appeared on ‘Majlis’ for an episode covering the FIFA Club World Cup, which is currently being held in Doha.
In a tweet posted in 2018, Zaki described Qatar as “the axis of evil” that sows discord against Saudi Arabia.
“May God curse the rulers of Qatar and Turkey and all those who support them against Saudi Arabia,” the tweet added.
These allegations were repeated in a video that went viral on social media, in which he proudly states: “I am saying all of this knowing I will likely be in Qatar to cover the Club World Cup sports event.”
Zaki’s presence sparked outrage across social media platforms, where users strongly objected to his appearance on the show for his previous anti-Qatar remarks.
Majed Al Khelaifi, the Editor-in-chief of local sports outlet, Stad Doha, as well as other prominent figures, demanded a public apology from Zaki for his comments.
“We call on all those who insulted our country and our leadership to apologise to the Qatari people,” Al Khelaifi said in a tweet.
“I am sure those who hosted them do not know their truth, and I also request the establishment of a list of those who offended Qatar so that they are not invited,” Al Khelaifi added.
Responding to Al Khelaifi’s tweet, Zaki parroted the requests made by the Qatari personality, suggesting he also demands “an apology to Egypt, its leaders and people from all those who insulted it and killed its innocent children.”
The two then engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange on Twitter that eventually prompted presenter Khalid Jassim to publicly apologise for for hosting the journalist on his show.
“I apologise to everyone who admires Qatar, to the leaders and people of Qatar, citizens and residents. We should be meticulous in choosing our guests and, God willing, such unintentional mistakes will not be repeated,” he said in a tweet.
The tension between the media personalities comes one month after the Al Ula Declaration – signed by both Egypt and Qatar, as well as members of the GCC, to restore all diplomatic ties with Doha following a three-year land, air and sea blockade.
While the declaration has not been made public, it ensured that all signatories will open all borders, airspace and ports for trade while also resuming diplomatic ties.
In a statement to announce the restoration of ties in January, Egypt’s foreign ministry said: “In connection with the implementation steps within the framework in the Al-Ula statement, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar exchanged, today, January 20, two official notes, according to which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations between them”.
Flights between both countries were also announced by national carriers EgyptAir and Qatar Airways shortly after.
Several businesses, including Qatari Diar, have also resumed projects in the Egyptian capital, with the opening of St. Regis in Cairo, costing $1 billion.