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Fact Check: Old News of Arab Countries Banning Qatar Airways Linked to Recent Row Over Prophet


After some Islamic countries, including Qatar, expressed their disappointment with India over the controversial statement made by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma, a screenshot of a news article is being widely shared on social media, claiming that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have cancelled the licence of Qatar Airways.

The article content reads: “गहराते राजनयिक संकट के बीच सऊदी अरब, बहरीन ने कतर एयरवेज का लाइसेंस रद्द किया क्षेत्रीय राजनयिक संकट गहराने के बीच सऊदी अरब और बहरीन ने कतर एयरवेज का परिचालन लाइसेंस रद्द कर दिया है”  (English translation: Amid the deepening regional diplomatic crisis, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain cancel the operating licence of Qatar Airways.)

The image is shared on Facebook with a Hindi caption: “अभी तो पार्टी शुरू हुई है, कतरा कतरा जाएगा कतर का धीरे धीरे, चरमपंथ को बढ़ावा देने के कारण क्षेत्रीय संकट बढ़ा” (English translation: The party has just begun, and Qatar will go down slowly. The regional crisis has deepened due to propaganda of extremism.)

Here’s the link to the above post


NewsMobile fact-checked the above claim, and found it to be MISLEADING. 

A relevant keyword search on Google directed us to the exact news report published by India TV on June 7, 2017

According to the news published in arabnews on June 6, 2017, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cancelled the licences of Qatar Airways. Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said in a statement that any licence granted to Qatar Airways employees would be withdrawn. Hours later, Bahrain also announced the ban on Qatar Airways. On June 6, 2017, Gulf Times reported the same incident. Thus, it is evident that the news is about five years old. 

Searching further, we found that on January 10, 2021, arabianbusiness reported that Qatar Airways announced that it would resume flights to Saudi Arabia from January 11, after the signing of the peace deal. This has ended the rift between Doha, Kingdom, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. 

A news published in The Economic Times on January 11, 2021, reported that the Qatar Airways jetliner landed on Saudi Arabian soil after the 2017 ban. 

Thus, it is evident from the above information that five-year-old news of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cancelling Qatar Airways is being falsely linked to the recent Prophet remarks controversy. Therefore, the viral claim is misleading. 


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