Youssef Qaradawi, perhaps the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, gave an inflammatory sermon on Friday in which he he declared it was the duty of all Muslims to give donations and boycott “the goods of enemies.” According to a Gulf media report, Qaradawi said:
“I wonder what is the use of the arms which Arab regimes buy for billions of dollars and stockpile until they rust. I would like to tell them: Shame on you rulers to see your brethren being slaughtered while you are sitting on the fence,” he told a large congregation gathered from around Qatar to attend a rally in protest against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza…It is the duty of all Muslims around the world to fight against an enemy invading any Muslim nation. But because border and crossing points are closed, Muslims are required to help out the resistance by giving donations and boycotting the goods of enemies,” he added. The scholar also slammed the US stance on the Gaza crisis, saying it “failed to lead the world both in politics and economics. It has double standards for everything.” “America is behaving as if it is a deity of the world. The West will fall the same way the former Soviet Union collapsed if they do not reconsider their stances,” he added. Qaradawi also hailed the the Venezuelan president’s decision to expel Israel’s ambassador as a “courageous stance”, saying that no Arab country among those maintaining ties with Israel dared even to “threaten the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.” He also called for activating the boycott of the products of specific companies working in the Muslim world, saying that some of these companies were thought to support Israel. “In Qatar we have Marks & Spencer which allocates the profits of Saturdays for Israel on a regular basis. Also there is Starbucks which contributes to the education and armament of Israel,” he said. He also called on the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas not to “sit on the fence and blackmail the people of Gaza.”
Following the sermon, Qaradawi led a rally in Doha where 15,000 were reported to have participated.
In Jordan, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood there also also called for a boycott, this time of French products because of remarks made by French President Sarkozy blaming Hamas for the Gaza conflict. According to a local report:
The leader of Jordan’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood accused France on Wednesday of “total bias” towards Israel in the Gaza crisis and urged a boycott of French products, the group’s website said. “Muslim and Arab nations should boycott French products in response to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s remarks about Hamas,” Hammam Saeed said in a statment on the site. “The French position reveals open hostility towards Muslims and Arabs and total bias towards Israel, and also serves Zionist interests.” Sarkozy blamed Hamas on Monday for the suffering of Palestinians inside the embattled Gaza Strip, where Israel’s 12-day-old war has now killed at least 666 people…”We cannot remain silent about France’s position. France will get a clear message if the more than one billion Muslims boycott its products,” Saeed said.
Jordan has been rocked by demonstrations targeting the Israeli embassy which have been broken up by police. As a previous post discussed in August, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood had reported to have been recently enjoying a “rapprochement” with the Jordanian government.
Last Wednesday, Israeli media reported what they called “a rare statement” by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood saying the the group was temporary suspending all activities against President Bashar Assad’s regime and instead allocating its resources toward helping Hamas in Gaza. According to the report:
A pamphlet published by the Brotherhood’s London offices said the movement has “suspended all of activities against the Syrian regimein order to direct all efforts toward backing the diplomatic campaign.” The pamphlet said the movement would “fulfill its legitimate and moral obligation to take part in any action meant to save the Palestinians in Gaza,” and called on “Arabs everywhere” to “assist in any way possible our people in Gaza who are fighting on the front, be it by prayer, by donating money and blood or with the use of the media and the Internet.” The message also called on the regime in Damascus to “remove all of the barriers that are preventing Syria and its people from fulfilling their sacred duty to liberate the conquered land and support the Palestinian brothers’ resistance.” In a conversation with Ynet, the group’s exiled leader Ali Bayanouni refused to comment on the report.
In the U.K, a march sponsored by the usual coalition of U.K Muslim Brotherhood and far left groups, attracted some 20,000 people and turned violent as had an earlier demonstration sponsored by the same coalition. According to a report by U.K media:
The Israeli embassy in central London turned into a battleground yesterday evening as police and demonstrators clashed following a pro-Palestinian rally. Organisers estimated that at the peak of the protest up to 100,000 people had braved snow and sub-zero temperatures to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but police believe the figure was closer to 20,000. …. In London, 13 people were taken to hospital following increasingly violent scuffles between police and protesters, and scores more were treated at the scene. The trouble began when protesters hurled shoes at the US embassy, in the spirit of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at George Bush in protest at his “war crimes”. Protesters threw fireworks, sticks and shoes at the embassy and climbed lampposts while police struggled to hold them back. Israeli flags and placards bearing the face of President Bush were burned. At the height of the trouble protesters seized shields and barricades from riot police and used them to hit back. Police were seen using batons. Last night the Metropolitan Police confirmed three arrests had been made for offences including aggravated trespass and assault on a police officer, but Commander Bob Broadhurst said that could rise to 40. More than 30 organisations, including Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, came together for the second largest rally since Israel’s attacks began. …The march began peacefully, yesterday at lunchtime, at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, where speeches were made by celebrities and activists, including the rock musician Annie Lennox and the actress Juliet Stevenson. But the protests turned ugly, and riot officers charged repeatedly at a group composed mainly of young men, many of them masked. Sticks and barriers were hurled at officers. Some of the youths destroyed a Starbucks coffee shop, looting hefty mugs to throw at the police. About 300 police corralled a similar-sized group of protesters and moved them away.
In the U.S., the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reiterated their earlier claim of “massacre”, one of the persistent themes of global Muslim Brotherhood statements on Gaza,this time asking President Bush for a condemnation:
“We call on President Bush to condemn this latest massacre of civilians using weapons paid for with American tax dollars,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “This massacre, along with Israel’s past attacks on Palestinian homes, schools, universities, mosques, medical personnel, and a Baptist church in Gaza, must be condemned by all those who value international humanitarian law and the sanctity of human life.” He also called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact the sponsors of a proposed congressional resolution in support of Israeli attacks on Gaza. “Our elected representatives should focus on serving their constituents, not on offering rhetorical support to the kind of state-sponsored terrorism Israel is perpetrating in Gaza.” Awad said blind political support for Israel’s brutal actions undermines America’s leadership role and status around the world.
In France, the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), a part of the European Muslim Brotherhood, issued a statement saying that the Israeli army was deliberately targeting civilian homes “in order to sow terror by killing as many innocent people, women and children.” The statement spoke of an “unprecedented genocide against the Palestinian people.”