By Mohammed Dhaysane
The United Arab Emirates have expelled a Somali national who was taking part in an annual Quranic competition.
Ismail Madar, who was representing Somalia, told journalists in the Gulf state on Tuesday that authorities told him his participation had ended in the recitation contest that began last week.
"On Monday evening the competition committee and Emarati authorities told me that i will not take part the remaining competition,” Madar said. “I was shocked because i hoped that i will be the winner, but unfortunately this happened to me which is really a punishment.”
Mader believes he was singled out because of Somalia’s refusal to server ties with Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism
Somalia's foreign ministry has urged "all brotherly countries involved to settle the differences through dialogue".
Somali resident Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, who was in Dubai at the time, told Anadolu Agency that Ismail was told he could not continue in the competition as a representative from Somalia.
"Ismail Madar, was taken to the Dubai International Airport and deported back to Somalia by Emirati security personnel" according to Hassan who witnessed the deportation.
The Dubai has yet to comment on the incident.
The annual Dubai International Holy Quran Award is during Ramadan and sponsored by the Dubai government.
A top prize of $68,000 is awarded to the winner, 54,000 for second place and $40,800 for third place, according to local media.