Prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi has urged the Palestinian factions to unify ranks and launch a “jihad” on Israel, while dismissing the peace process in the Middle East as pursuing a “mirage”. In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Qaradawi described the 62nd anniversary of what he called the “state of the Zionist enemy” as “a painful experience that is unforgettable”. “Tomorrow Israel will complete 62 years of its existence. This is the anniversary of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) which Muslims and Arabs should never forget. Some people do not even know that 62 years ago Israel had not even existed. There were only a few thousand Jews in Palestine then,” he told a congregation at the Omar bin Al Khattab mosque. “When Muslims conquered Jerusalem, the Christian patriarch, who handed over the city, stipulated that Jews should not be allowed in it,” he maintained. About the Middle East peace process, Qaradawi, who is the chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, raised doubts about efforts to work out a “peaceful solution”, saying that only resistance would ensure the return of the Arab lands usurped by the Jewish state. “Nothing has happened since the peace process has been launched. It is just a fairytale and consists of useless efforts. Some of us are still begging for peace from Israel. Resistance should continue and should be supported by all of us since our battle with Israel has military, political, religious, cultural and economic aspects that should be considered,” he added. The scholar urged the Arab countries to back the Palestinian resistance movement by providing them with the needed weapons and money as well as by boycotting both Israel and the US. “I call upon all the Palestinians factions to be united for launching a jihad against Israel,” he added. He lamented the steps taken by some Arab states to normalise ties with Israel. After decades of the Arabs’ rejection of Israel, some of them had agreed to have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state while others had opted for secret relationship, he said. “For decades we have been educated that Israel is just a claimed entity and that it should be wiped off the map. But the situation has become different now,” he added. “Palestine should not be forgotten by our nations. It is a duty on all of us to support the Palestinians in their fight against the Zionist enemy. Only through resistance we will be able to retain our rights,” he maintained. About the 62nd anniversary of the creation of Israel and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, the scholar said that the Palestinian refugees, who were displaced by Israel during 1948 war, were under the impression that they would return soon to their homes. “Some of them kept their house keys believing they will only leave the place for a month or two. They did not imagine that their displacement would continue for 62 years,” he added.
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 recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.