In a short and little-noted story Aug. 19, the Cairo Post reported that Qatari diplomat Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Hajri was arrested for hashish possession at the airport upon flying into Egypt. Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a formal apology. There’s a quite an irony here. Qatar is by far the most conservative of the Persian Gulf states. The report notes that relations between Qatar and Egypt have been “frigid” since the ouster of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. When the new regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over, Egypt returned $2 billion that Qatar had given in aid. Since then, Cario has suspected Qatar of backing the Islamist opposition. And while Qatar has joined the US-led coalition agianst ISIS, it has also been accused of supporting the more “moderate” (sic) jihadists in Syria, like the Nusra Front (which the US is also bombing). And of course Qatar’s jihadist friends in Syria are avidly burning the country’s cannabis fields.
Qatar Online informs us that you can get the death penalty there for drug-smuggling, although the Death Penalty Worldwide website indicates it is very rarely instated. Supposedly more “secular” Egypt also has the death penalty for drug-smuggling—and does instate it. The Daily Mail reported in June 2013 that an elderly British national was sent to Egypt’s death row after being popped for hashish. We haven’t heard that either country will be charging al-Hajri, however.
You can almost predict that those most puritanical about getting high are those most susceptible to the allure of forbidden fruit. Last year, Mohamed Morsi’s own son was arrested for hashish possession by Egyptian police.
But we’ve noted such hypocrisies before.