MEMRI, a website that monitors Arabic language media with Islamist content, is reporting that the son of Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi may have converted to Shia Islam. According to the report:
….there were reports in the media that his son, the poet ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi, had converted to the Shi’a, and that this was the motivation for the father’s anti-Shi’ite campaign. These claims were denied by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi as well as by Dr. Muhammad Salim Al-‘Awa, deputy secretary-general of the Council of Muslim Clerics. In an Al-Masri Al-Yawm interview, Al-Qaradhawi said that these rumors were “nonsense aimed at diverting attention from the main issue…” He added: “My son is indeed a great admirer of [Hizbullah Secretary-General] Hassan Nasrallah, emblem of the resistance. He has frequently been invited to South [Lebanon], and has dedicated a book of poems to the resistance [i.e. to Hizbullah] – but all this does not mean that he has become a Shi’ite…” Al-‘Awa told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that he had met with ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi, and that the latter had categorically denied the rumors about his conversion, and had even said that he planned to sue the news agencies that spread this rumor. However, according to the Iranian website Jahan News, ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi said at a conference in Lebanon that he was proud to be Shi’ite, and that the request he has recently received to convert back to the Sunna was nothing but an insult to Shi’ites. Unlike previous reports, this report did not evoke a denial.
The MEMRI report suggests that the conversion may have triggered Qaradawi’s recent critical remarks about the Shia which are analyzed in detail in the report.
Youssef Qaradawi is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide stating only that
..he had consciously decided not to limit his scope of manoeuvre by tying himself ‘any movement which might constrain my actions, even if this is the Muslim Brotherhood under whose umbrella I grew and which I so defended…Would I, at the age of 77, accept what I turned down when I was 49?’