Egypt excludes Qatar, Turkey from upcoming Islamic summit

Egyptian religious endowments minister said Qatar and Turkey were not invited to attend a summit for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs

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Turkish and Qatari delegates have been excluded from attending an upcoming Islamic affairs summit in Egypt, a minister said on Saturday, citing the two nations’ foreign policies towards some Arab states as the reason.

Egypt’s Awqaf (religious endowments) Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said invitations were not sent to the two countries to attend the two-day conference of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs starting on Monday.

Gomaa said Egypt had decided not to deal with any Turkish official until Turkey imposes a change on its foreign policy, reported al-Dostour newspaper, in an apparent reference to Ankara’s frosty relations with Cairo after the crackdown on Islamist protesters in the Egyptian capital in August last year.

The decision to exclude a Qatari delegation from the conference was made by Egypt after some Arab states curtailed ties with Doha last month, the minister said, adding that Qatar is involved in acts that “harm the security of Egypt,” local daily al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Diplomatic rift

The minister was likely referring to a surprise move by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates earlier this month to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar over allegations of meddling in their internal affairs.

Meanwhile, Gomaa had stressed that this year’s iteration of the conference will deal with challenges that extremist ideologies impose on the region.

“This year’s conference aims at correcting concepts among many young people and extremist groups,” a statement said Friday.

The statement said the conference will work on “putting an end to takfiri (apostate) thoughts and fatwas” that can cause damage to “national interests and international relations.”

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