In an interview with a pan-Arab London-based newspaper, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi makes an unusual allusion to a split within the movement over the issue of dialog with the Vatican. When asked by the interviewer whether he would be part of a delegation meeting the Pope, Qaradawi replied:
No. No, I am not participating in that delegation. We adopted a position after the statements made by the Pope against Islam, the Prophet and Islamic Shariaa, and we find that what he said was unjustifiable. We, the Universal Union of Muslim Scholars of which I have the honor of being president, issued a statement in this regard, and we called on the Pope to withdraw his remarks because they were offensive to a great nation of 1,500 million Muslims in the world, and they offend the Prophet, history and the Shariaa for no obvious reason. He was aggressive toward us, and he was still new at that time. He refused to withdraw his offensive statements, so we froze relations between us and the Vatican until such time as he issues something to make us feel that things have changed. So far, nothing of the sort has happened. Some of the brothers in Jordan wanted to go to the Vatican; well, let them go, we do not prevent them from going, but as for us, our position is known.
Earlier posts have discussed the “summit” of Catholic and Muslim leaders in November that will likely include a substantial representation from the global Muslim Brotherhood. The dialog effort has resulted from a letter that was signed by a large number of global Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The letter was drafted by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan who last year sponsored the Amman Message that was also signed by many Muslim Brotherhood leaders. It is likely that it is the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute to which Qaradawi is referring in his reference to “the brothers in Jordan” and appears to signify a rift in the global Muslim Brotherhood over the issue of dialog with the Vatican. Under the reign of the previous Pope, the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi organizations such as the Muslim World League had been meeting with the Vatican under the auspices of the The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee which was formed in 1995.