By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – In the wake of Moroccan-French Audrey Azoulay’s election as chief of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Egypt’s former Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, has thanked God for the defeat of the Qatari candidate, Hamad al-Kuwari.
Gomaa said a victory by al-Kuwariwould have been prohibited (“Haram”).
Invited as a guest on Allah Yaalam (“God Knows”), atalk show on the Egyptian channel CBC, which has close ties with security services in Egypt, Gomaa said of al-Kuwari that “they wanted to bring to UNESCO someone from a country that blows up antiquities and considers them as taboo.”
“It would be unfair if he took the lead of the organization, but thank God, he lost,” the Egyptian cleric added.
Following his accusations on Qatar’s destruction of monuments, Mohamed Nacer, a pro-Islamic Brotherhood media presenter, pushed back against Gomaa’s comment, saying “If you were used to distort religion, how would you not distort history?”
“Let me tell you who exploded the monuments, as long as you mentioned the two Buddhist statues [in Afghanistan]. It was Taliban which was supported by Sadat and whose fighters were financially backed by Saudi Arabia and US as well,” he added.
Gomaa’s statements have been widely circulated on social media, with some commenters criticizing his use of religion to provide legitimacy to the political interests of certain groups.
“Ali Gomaa is attacking Qatar: ‘They wanted to choose for UNESCO’s leader someone from a country that blew up monuments! ’Would religious intervention in politics and public affairs be permissible? Or is this just the stand of the Sultan’s clerics?” one Twitter user said.
“See how Ali Gomaa is deeply happy for the loss of the Qatari candidate when he said he blessed whoever overthrew him?” another user tweeted.