In an interview which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 7, 2009, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi threatened Switzerland with economic reprisals over the decision to ban new minaret construction. According to a MEMRI translation:
If you are beaten, will you keep silent? Anyone who is oppressed must breathe, and anyone who is beaten must shout. If Switzerland does not comply [with the Muslims’ demands], it is the Muslims’ duty, not just their right, to withdraw their money from the Swiss [banks]. There are billions in Switzerland. Switzerland was known as a safe and neutral country of liberties, but it is no longer that kind [of country]. If it is no longer like that, we should treat it accordingly……Tens of thousands of [Muslim] tourists visit Switzerland. This year, people must say: No. What happened has consequences. There are Swiss products [which can be banned]. I am saying this now, but only after we despair of all [other]measures. It is our right to use this method. These are all weapons in our hands, but we will not resort to them yet. At present, we will try to use the weapons of media and the law, and try to influence the others. We will try to change the stereotypical image of Islam, which is implanted in the minds of the Europeans.
A previous post discussed Qaradawi’s earlier reactions to the controversy.
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. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. Qaradawi has written that all Jews and all Muslims will fight each other in a final battle in which Muslims will emerge victorious. Qaradawi has also written that Israel plots against the Al-Aqsa mosque are harbingers of this coming conflict.