Southeast Asian news media are reporting that global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi will be attending what was described as the first dialogue between Islam and Eastern religions to be held in February. According to one report:
An international conference will be held next month in Delhi to initiate a dialogue between Islam and Eastern religions, the chief organiser of the conference, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, announced at a press conference held here at the Press Club of India. This first of its kind dialogue will be inaugurated by the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari. The conference will be held during 20-21 February at Jamia Millia’s Ansari Auditorium and will be attended by top leaders and scholars of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism from India and neighbouring countries. Buddhist and Hindu scholars and religious leaders from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other countries will take part in addition to participants from almost all parts of India.Hitherto Muslims have held many rounds of dialogues with Christian and Jewish leaders and this is the first initiative of its kind between Islam and religions with roots in India. The organisers the hope that this will lead to a better understanding and co-existence between the followers of these religions in the country in particular and South Asia in general. The conference is being held with the participation of all major Indian Muslim organisations. The initiative is also supported by the Qatar-based Union of Muslim Scholars whose head Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the greatest contemporary Muslim scholar, will attend the dialogue alongwith key members of his organisation. Speakers at the press conference included Pandit NK Sharma, Dr JK Jain (owner, Jain TV), Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani (Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind) and Mujtaba Farooq (Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind). They lauded this effort and said that this initiative will unify the nation and help bring social cohesion and peace which are needed for the country’s progress so that it may become a world power and attain the level of development we all dream. Dr Khan said that the initiative has received tremendous support from Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Sikh organisations and personalities in India and neighbouring countries. He hoped that an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding will be reached through this effort which will continue through similar conferences and workshops on various levels.
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.
A new report by scholar Samuel Helfont provides additional background on Qaradawi.