'Disgust' as UAE cleric Waseem Yousef says Arabs their own enemy, not Israel

'Disgust' as UAE cleric Waseem Yousef says Arabs their own enemy, not Israel
Waseem Yousef has outraged Arabs with pro-Israel tweets ever since the UAE normalised relations with Israel.
3 min read
23 September, 2020
Waseem Yousef's tweets have outraged people across the Arab world [Twitter]

Palestinians have expressed outrage over a Jordanian-Emirati cleric who has used the Qur’an to justify normalisation.

Waseem Yousef, who has a PhD in Quranic interpretation, has been at the forefront of religious controversy since the UAE's normalisation deal with Israel was announced in August.

Soon after the deal was signed, Yousef retweeted a video of Palestinians protesting against normalisation, branding them “filthy” and undeserving of Jerusalem.

“These filthy morals, you do not really deserve Jerusalem, most of you work in Israel and you are asking the Arabs to boycott Israel, the truth is you are without morals.  The Jews are more honorable than you,” he tweeted.

This tweet drew a furious response across the Arab world, where most people support the Palestinian cause and reject normalisation with Israel.

Yousef doubled down on his tweet a day later, saying he was only defending the UAE.

“When I saw the flag of my country being burned by some Palestinians because of the peace treaty with Israel - I apologize to every Israeli man if you offended him in the past,” he said.

Read also: Bahrainis protesting Israel normalisation 'in secret' amid fears of Arab Spring style crackdown

The controversial cleric, who was dismissed as Imam of the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque in February after he sued Twitter users for allegedly slandering him, has continued with his pro-Israel rhetoric, in line with the UAE's now normalised relations with Israel.

He has become notorious for using verses of the Qur’an which discuss religious tolerance to justify normalisation. 

This weekend, however, Yousef took things a step further, lashing out at the whole of the Arab world in defence of Israel.

He took aim at Arab opponents of normalisation, telling them to “look in the mirror” because the problem lies within the Arab nations. 

“Let me tell you all a story about the security agreement between Israel and the UAE,” he said in an Arabic language tweet

“ • Israel did not destroy Syria

 • Israel did not burn Libya

 • Israel did not scatter the people of Egypt

 • Israel did not destroy Libya

 • Israel has not torn Lebanon apart into sects

“Before you blame others, look at yourselves in the mirror, Arabs, for the problem is in you,” he concluded.

The tweet caused renewed outrage across the Arab world, with his name as a hashtag trending on Twitter.

“Waseem Yousef is known for his contradictions, lies and hypocrisy, yet he has the nerve to insult us all. He is completely without shame,” said one Twitter user.

Yousef’s tweet was retweeted by the Israeli government's "Israel in Arabic" Twitter account, which added the caption: “When the Arab peoples realize these facts, peace will soon come, God willing.”

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