Updated with comments from the German government
Qatar has joined the chorus of voices worldwide condemning the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who was killed in a video message posted by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants on Tuesday.
Yesterday, QNA reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying it condemned Foley’s murder “at the hand of a criminal group.” The statement continued:
“The ministry described the incident as a heinous crime that goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles, as well as international laws and conventions.
The ministry expressed its deep sorrow at the loss of Foley, who showed courage in conveying the truth from the most dangerous spots in the world, including the suffering of Syrians. The ministry also expressed its condolences to his family and peers.”
The remarks came a day after German Development Minister Gerd Mueller accused Qatar of funding IS members.
Reuters reports Mueller as saying:
“You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar – and how do we deal with these people and states politically?”
On Friday, the German government said it “regretted” any misunderstanding caused by the remarks and added that it had found no evidence to support Mueller’s comments.
Qatar did not respond to the accusation publicly, but has in the past denied any support for insurgents in Syria and Iraq.
However, the country is widely believed to have been sending arms to opposition groups in Syria to help fight President Bashar Al Assad.
And last June, Qatar’s former prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, said with regards to the Syrian conflict that “arms may be the only way to achieve peace.”
Also on Thursday, the Arab League condemned Foley’s murder. And earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority branded IS and al Qaeda as “enemy number one of Islam.”
In a statement, Grand Mufti Sheik Abdulaziz Al al-Sheik said:
“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims.”
Foley ransom note
Foley went missing in Syria in 2012. After his death, his parents revealed that they had received a ransom note last November from IS militants, asking for $132 million.
According to the LA Times, the family worked to raise the money, but lost contact with IS until this month, when they received a new note threatening to kill Foley in retaliation for US airstrikes against its positions in northern Iraq.
Following Foley’s death, the US government has reiterated its position that it does not negotiate with terrorists, though many have questioned this policy amid a recent decision to release five Guantanamo Bay prisoners into Qatar’s custody, in exchange for an American soldier held captive in Afghanistan.
Officials responded by saying the deal, which involved five senior Taliban officials, was made through intermediaries in Qatar, and thus involved no direct negotiations with “terrorists,” the LA Times added.