Qatar denies backing Islamic State group

Foreign minister says Gulf state is repelled by armed group’s views, their violent methods and their ambitions.

Islamic State group fighters have seized wide areas of northern Iraq, northern and eastern Syria [Reuters]

Qatar has rejected accusations of giving financial support to fighters of the Islamic State group who have seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, and condemned their “barbaric” murder of a US journalist.

Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah’s comments on Saturday came a day after the German government apologised for remarks by a minister accusing Qatar of financing the self-declared jihadists.

Attiyah described the comments as ill-informed.

“Qatar does not support extremist groups, including [the Islamic State], in any way. We are repelled by their views, their violent methods and their ambitions,” he said in a statement released in London.

“The vision of extremist groups for the region is one that we have not, nor will ever, support in any way.”

Attiyah said Qatar’s goal was to do all it could to see peace and justice across the region and called for collective action to end the violence in Syria and Iraq.

He urged the Iraqi government to provide safety and security for its citizens and vowed that Qatar would continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.

He also condemned the killing of American journalist James Foley as “a criminal act that contradicts the tolerant principles of Islam, the human values, and international laws and norms”.

The Islamic State earlier this week had released a video purporting to show the beheading of Foley, who disappeared in Syria in November 2012. 

“The killing of innocent civilians and the forced flight of hundreds of thousands of people threatens the very existence of Iraq and the peace and security of the entire region,” the foreign minister said.

“So while, along with many other countries from the Middle East and wider international community, we have supported the Syrian opposition to the [Bashar] al-Assad regime, we do not fund [the Islamic State group] or other extremist factions.”

In a separate statement on Saturday, the Qatari foreign ministry also condemned an attack on worshippers inside a mosque in the Iraqi province of Diyala, which left at least 73 people killed and dozens of others injured.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies