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Paul McLoughlin

Indian scholar 'asked to leave' Oman after anti-Saudi speech

Oman is pursuing a policy of neutrality in the Gulf crisis [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2017

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An Indian scholar has been asked to leave Oman, after making a speech at a local sharia college that criticised Saudi foreign policy.
An Indian Muslim scholar has been ordered to leave Oman after making an anti-Saudi speech at an Islamic school in Muscat.

Salman al-Husaini, a professor in Islamic sciences, made a thinly-veiled attack on the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar during a speech at Muscat's College of Shariah Sciences on Tuesday.

In his fiery talk, the scholar criticised Saudi Arabia for allying with "Jews and Christians" and blockading a Muslim country - referring to Qatar - that "harbours Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood".

Husaini also described US President Donald Trump as a "devil" and accused him of instigating the Gulf crisis.

A video of the speech has been shared widely on social media and led to Oman - which has remained neutral in the Gulf crisis - to issue a rare public statement asking Husaini to leave the country.

"The ministry of foreign affairs affirms that the competent authorities in the Sultanate have taken action on the matter and asked him to leave the Sultanate," the ministry said on Twitter, naming Husain as Suleiman, not Salman.

It added that Husain's comments were "inconsistent with the principles, approaches, and policies of the Sultanate".

The statement is likely a political move by Oman to ensure it does not appear be taking sides in the crisis or encouraging criticism of either party, journalist Fatma al-Arimi has said.

Oman has been working with Kuwait to help mend a rift between Qatar and a Riyadh-led coalition.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched a blockade on Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups, a claim Doha strongly denies.

Oman has pursued a policy of neutrality and mutual respect under Sultan Qaboos al-Said, who took to the throne in 1970.

Oman helped mend a previous rift between Qatar and several Gulf states in 2014, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha.

 

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