Qatar ‘defends’ signs of ‘secrets’

By Izabela Tejsi

BBC News, Washington

Qatar is an absolute monarchy in a desert area which has one of the most productive agricultural sectors in the world

Qatar’s Minister of Tourism Affairs, Saif Al-Kaabi, says that a group of suspicious symbols carved into the sands in Doha are all part of a tour guide’s guidebook and are not an indication of anything sinister. “The country is beautiful and the land has lots of values,” he told the BBC. “These spiritual stories have deep roots in this land and have been passed on over generations.” These “five stones”, as they are known by their Arabic title, have become symbols of controversy in the capital Doha. Discover it The drawings are often located on the sides of buildings within metres of one another. The second-largest UN post in the world Mr Al-Kaabi, a former ambassador to the United States, says he has been puzzled as to how these symbols have reached the places where they appear on buildings and in the mountains. “It must be cultural stories. What do they mean? I’m trying to understand them myself,” he said. “Maybe it is someone calling them by their Islamic names, or that they have borrowed them from other cultures, or may be that they’ve come from nature,” he says. The first stone came from a temple in India. The geometric design reflects “the depth of the idea and culture” according to Mr Al-Kaabi. The fifth stone comes from the Egyptian quarter of the city. “They are symbolic of the desert and its richness,” he said. “The sixth stone is a pretty geometric design and we expect it to be from Turkey and was brought to Qatar.” This third stone is believed to be an ancient Babylonian portico, dating back to the Neolithic period. “Hopefully it will be a symbol of good luck,” says Mr Al-Kaabi. Then comes the fourth, a ‘metal serpent’ which some believe was brought by the Prophet Muhammad himself. It is a concept that has been linked to Qatari history. The fifth stone was believed to be from Japan “We believe it came from Mount Fuji and the Japanese,” says Mr Al-Kaabi. “The sixth one is from Syria. We believe it may have been shaped by a snake.” At the end of the tour the group visited a copy of the Qatar Koran, the country’s official holy book. “Why would anybody mark this with these symbols?” asked Faraj Al-Suwaidi, a web user. “Who put them there? Are they trying to prove something?”

Bookmark with: Delicious




StumbleUpon What are these? E-mail this to a friend Printable version

Leave a Comment