DUBAI - A Sunni Muslim cleric at the center of a diplomatic rift among Gulf Arab states has criticized Washington's role in the campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria as purely self-interested.
Ties between Qatar and its neighbors have periodically come under strain following sermons by Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric based in Doha, criticizing the military-based Egyptian government and conservative Gulf Arab dynasties.
Qaradawi's outspoken support for Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year contributed to an unprecedented diplomatic rift between Qatar and several of its Gulf Arab allies, who consider the Islamist movement a security threat.
Commenting on ultra-hardline Islamic State, an armed group Gulf Arab states pledged to fight at a meeting on Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah, Qaradawi criticized Washington's planned campaign against it.
Using a widely used term for Islamic State in a Twitter message, he wrote on Saturday: "I totally disagree with Da'ish in ideology and means, but I don't at all accept that the one to fight it is America, which does not act in the name of Islam but rather in its own interests, even if blood is shed."
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