Al-Balāgh Organization, supported by the Qatari Government, has closed down ‘islamonline.net.’ This occurred after confrontations with the organization’s employees in the Cairo office, who called for financial rights following massive layoffs.
The author argues that ‘Islam Online’ was an exception among the other religious media outlets that induce hatred, and enforce sectarianism and fanaticism. It was a moderate Islamic website that did not belong to any political or religious trend. It was characterized by a high degree of professionalism unusual in Arab and Egyptian media.
The author points out that ‘Islam Online’ represented a unique relationship between the Gulf capital and the Egyptian labor power. This was characterized by dignity and professionalism, as employees stayed in their home countries yet received high salaries. In addition, writers and correspondents from many different nationalities worked with the editorial team in Cairo at a time when nearly all Egyptian media institutions employed only Egyptians.
The author argued that such independence disturbed Qatar, which is keen to consolidate its role in the Arab world through soft power, especially in the media sphere. Qatar has the right to implement whatever political agenda it wants. However, it should realize that it has ruined a successful media experience on different levels. Egypt also could have supported this website and its employees, had it sensible officials. Now 300 individuals have become jobless thanks to the choices of Qatar and Egypt.