A prominent Saudi Arabian family has demanded Qatar to change the name of its state mosque by claiming that it was coined under false pretenses. The mosque which was opened in 2011 during Father Emir still rule.
The mosque was renamed from Grand Mosque to the Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque.
QNA had said then that the move was “in reflection of the State of Qatar’s intention to revive the nation’s symbols and its cultural values.”
However, Saudi’s Al Sheikh family has said that the name should be changed because Sheikh Hamad erroneously called himself a descendent of Imam Abdul Wahhab.
The demand was made through a statement signed by Saudi’s Minsiter of Islamic Affairs, the state mufti and another 200 members.
When the mosque was named after the Imam, QNA hailed his “strict abidance by the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s sayings and actions,” but made no mention of blood relations.
The plaque outside the mosque describes the man as an influential Sunni scholar born in Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century, it doesn’t reveal any family relationship between the Imam and the Al Thani family.
The scholar is widely credited with introducing the conservative practice of Islam in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and throughout the Gulf, in what is now called Wahhabism.
Though many Qataris ascribe to this tradition, the Al Sheikh family also asserted that the state mosque does not follow the teachings of its namesake.
According to Arab News, they also allege “its imams and preachers are not committed to the moderate Salafist teachings.”
The demand for change in name has created a media stir after Qatar’s state news agency published false reports attributed to the Emir and Foreign Minister.
The remarks expressed support for Israel and Iran, and criticized key Qatar allies such as Saudi Arabia and the US.
However, authorities in Doha denied the statements and said that QNA was hacked, but many in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain didn’t buy the claim. There is no official statement yet by the Gulf governments.
However, media is tightly controlled in these countries. And outlets in all three nations have been running articles, news packages and editorials criticizing Qatar.
Access to Qatar based and funded to Al Jazeera were denied inside some Gulf countries after the hack.
Things have not been this tense within the GCC since 2014, when Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Doha for political reasons.
But yesterday, a senior UAE official urged reconciliation, saying the Gulf is currently facing a “new sharp crisis that carries within it a great danger.”
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, urged for unity through a tweet. Without mentioning Qatar specifically, he added:
“Fending off sedition lies in changing behavior, building trust and regaining credibility.