Somalia: A Somali competitor disqualified from the Quran contest for expressing sympathy to Qatar
DUBAI, UAE- In the past days a story about a Somali competitor in the annual Quran competition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was rumored in the social media to be linked to Somalia’s position to stand neutral on the Gulf crisis, Garowe Online reports.
Earlier, Ismail Omar Madar who was representing Somalia shared a video saying he was singled out because of Somalia’s refusal to server ties with Qatar.
However, GO has learned that Madar was dismissed from the contest after expressing his support to Qatar in the social media and sharing it with his friends during the contest.
Following the Gulf crisis, UAE and Saudi Arabia have issued orders to residents against expressing sympathy to Qatar in the social media which could lead to jail sentence and hefty fines.
Dismissal of Madar from the contest has prompted heavy criticism and debate among the public who suggested his dismissal was due to Somalia’s refusal to sever ties with Qatar.
Madar spoke to the local media in Hargaisa, the capital of Somaliland region, and said his disqualification coincided with the visit of Qatari delegate to the Somali capital of Mogadishu this week.
On the other hand, the organizing committee of the Quran contest in UAE has released a statement indicating that Madar has failed to qualify to the next stage thou he received a financial reward, in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“The case can’t be related to diplomatic crisis, because if it was, the UAE would have asked all Somali citizens to leave the country,” said a political expert.
Both countries share historical political and economical relationships and is believed the current rift between Arab countries will not affect the relations.