The founders of IslamOnlne, an Islamic news portal strongly associated with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, have announced the launch of their new website called OnIslam. According to the announcement:
After a several-month battle against Qatari financers over editorial independence, the editorial team that founded IslamOnline.net ten years ago launched on Saturday, October 9, their alternative OnIslam website. “Our main concern and objective was to launch a website where editorial work is independent from funding,” stressed Hisham Gaafar, the chairman of the board of trustees of MDA, a non-profit civil institution for media development under which OnIslam is launched. The idea to launch OnIslam came after a crisis that broke out in March between the new board of the Doha-based “Gamaiyat Al Balagh” or the Balagh Cultural Society, which owned IslamOnline.net, and the Cairo-based editorial team. The website had enjoyed editorial independence since its birth in 1999 under the auspices of prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, by separating its editorial content from its funding. The equation changed a year ago after the new board started interfering in the editorial process and showing discomfort with the moderate message of the website. It later decided to lay off the editorial team and move the production process to Doha to be able to control the content. IOL journalists and employees staged a several-month sit-in defending their editorial policy, moderate message and demanding their right to resume work and get their withheld financial rights. Many of them later decided to launch OnIslam as an alternative media outlet with the same professional editorial policies and moderate vision of a unified and lively Islam that works for all times and areas. “Some of the staff agreed to work on a voluntary basis while others accepted deducted salaries to minimize the cost of launching the new website,” explained Gaafar. “This has facilitated the launch of OnIslam until proper funding is secured, hopefully by the beginning of 2011.”….The new website aims at becoming a reference on Islam and Muslims-related issues for Muslims, new Muslims as well as interested non-Muslims. It seeks to review and renew contemporary Islamic discourses and help reach common grounds among people of different faiths and cultures. OnIslam will have a special focus on the institution of the family and the challenges facing Muslim families, especially in non Muslim-majority countries. Also coming high on the agenda of interest would be challenges facing Muslim minorities in the West, rising Islamophobia and the global debate on terrorism. The website will also focus on projecting positive contributions by Muslim minorities to their countries as well as Muslim stars in all scientific, cultural, economic and sport fields. OnIslam will have a separate section, Reading Islam, which helps non-Muslims and new Muslims understand the tenets and true message of Islam.
Previous posts discussed the series of events that resulted in the ouster of Qaradawi from the board of the Balagh Cultural Society.
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.
The OnIslam website can be found here.