This policy brief is part of a project on “The Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power” that Brookings is undertaking in partnership with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University. All views expressed in this publication are solely those of its author and do not reflect positions on the part of either institution.
Qatar has developed a reputation for engaging with and supporting Islamist groups around the Middle East. This is not surprising and reflects the reality that on countless occasions in recent decades, Qatar has engaged with a wide range of Islamist actors, from Hamas to a litany of groups in Syria and Libya to the Taliban. Consequently, Qatar is sometimes viewed as a closeted Islamist actor itself, as if the state’s leadership harbors a plan to spread religious doctrine wherever and however it can. The truth, however, is far more prosaic.