Today, 24 Members of Congress called on the Government of Qatar to address reports of its growing relationship with Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). In a bipartisan letter to Qatari Ambassador Mahamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi authored by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and John Barrow (D-GA), lawmakers expressed concerns over apparent expanding economic and diplomatic ties between Qatar and Hamas.
"Ignoring Qatar's funding of Hamas sets a dangerous precedent of giving our allies a free pass on openly supporting terrorism," said Congressman Roskam. "The United States must take an unequivocal stand against any country's actions that enable extremists like Hamas to murder innocent people. In the interest of maintaining strong U.S.-Qatar relations, we hope to have a candid discussion with the Government of Qatar about suspending its relationship with Hamas."
"It's our duty to ensure that our allies are not openly supporting any terrorist organization," said Congressman Barrow. "Qatar's support of Hamas jeopardizes the relationships between our governments, and it's critical that we have answers. A bipartisan coalition is interested in maintaining that relationship, but not before we get answers and assurances that any future relationships between Qatar and Hamas are ended."
According to the New York Times, Qatar's emir reportedly pledged $400 million in financial aid to Hamas in October 2012. These funds could directly support weapons purchases and terrorism against Israel and other regional allies. That same year, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal relocated from Damascus to Doha due to instability in Syria while Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh delivered a sermon at Qatar's Grand Mosque in which he stated, "we are now on the door of the battle to liberate Jerusalem."