On February 15, 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in an official Al-Jazeera town hall interview at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) branch campus in Qatar’s Education City. Secretary Clinton was introduced by Sheikh Abdallah Aal-Thani, whose opening statements on behalf of Education City praised the six American universities based there. In response, Secretary Clinton stated, “I have been following the progress of Education City from the U.S., and I am delighted to be able to see with my own eyes the extraordinary commitment of the Qatar Foundation… to this really extraordinary partnership between our two countries.” A short walk from the CMU branch at Education City is the Al-Qaradawi Centre for Research in Moderate Thought. It is named after Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi, an influential figure on campus who also happens to be barred from entering the U.S., and is documented as having called for the destruction of America and for the annihilation of the Jews. The following report sets out in detail the work of the Qatari royal family’s foundation in establishing Education City; Education City’s support of Sheikh Al-Qaradawi; and Education City’s official connections to, and expanding relations with, leading U.S. universities and research centers.
This report takes on particular interest in light of the recent decision by the U.S. to nominate a daughter of Youssef Qaradawi for a scholarship under the new Fulbright Science and Technology Award.
As well as being an enormously popular Muslim cleric, 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. He recently reaffirmed his support for suicide bombings in Israel and stated that only the intercession of the Emir of Qatar has kept him off U.S. terror lists.
When asked in January about who was responsible for the attempted plane bombing by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber , Qaradawi replied:
Look, responsibility for this lies, first and foremost, with America. It is America that provoked the Muslims of the world with its positions that have nothing to do with justice. America always supports injustice and tyranny. It supports the Zionist entity. Responsibility lies, first and foremost, with the American positions.