Tunisia denies plans to host Qatar-based scholar Qaradawi

TUNIS – The Tunisian presidency on Friday denied reports about plans to host Qatar-based Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

"The issue was never raised at a meeting between [Tunisian President] Moncef Marzouqi and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during [the latter's] visit to Tunisia last Friday," the presidency said in a statement read out by Foreign Minister Al-Mongey Hamdi.

The London-based Al-Arab newspaper reported Thursday that Qatar and Tunisia had reached a near-final agreement to move al-Qaradawi, who has been a vocal critic of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since last summer's ouster of elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, to Tunisia in an effort to ease recent tensions between Doha and its Gulf neighbors.

A source from al-Qaradawi's office, too, has denied the reports.

Earlier this year, the Egyptian-born al-Qaradawi, who currently serves as head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, lashed out at the countries – including the UAE – that had backed Morsi's outer by Egypt's military establishment.

The cleric's comments were met with anger in the UAE, which summoned the Qatari ambassador to voice its displeasure with al-Qaradawi's assertions.

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