Doha Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 2054 gmt on 15 January carries a five-minute telephone interview with Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, to comment on the toppling of the Tunisian president. The interview is conducted by anchor Iman Ayyad in the Doha studio. Asked to address the Tunisian people, Al-Qaradawi says: “I wish to send my sincerest wishes to the fraternal people of Tunisia, who set the example for the Arab peoples and the other suppressed people and crushed masses of the entire world. We cannot say that any of the various political parties or groups got these people moving. What moved them is injustice, suppression, and hunger.” After commending “Mohammed Bouazizi, the young man who sacrificed himself,” Al-Qaradawi calls on “the Tunisian people and all Muslims to pray to God to forgive Bouazizi for committing what Islam considers the gravest sin of committing suicide.” He explains that with his suicide, Bouazizi “sparked the whole nation.” Al-Qaradawi then congratulates the “Tunisian people for toppling the tyrant.” He calls on them to “bring down the servants of the idols because they are even worse than the idols.” Those, he explains, are “the remnants of this suppressive, dictatorial, arrogant regime, who should move aside in order not to block the way of the people towards progress.” Al-Qaradawi criticizes tasking “Mohamed Ghannouchi, at whose hands many people were killed,” to form the new government, saying that “all those disasters happened under the government that was led by Ghannouchi.” He asks: “How can he be tasked to form a government that is supposed to save the country? We want a new salvation government that does not include anybody from the ruling party, on whose hands people suffered. The government should be formed from the opposition parties, not the [ruling]party. We want all the deported people to come back, all those who were imprisoned for their ideas pardoned, and all the people detained without trial released.”
The Qatari newspaper The Peninsula carried another report on Qaradawi’s comments:
Doha – Noted Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi yesterday said in his Friday sermon that he could name three to four countries where people were suffering from starvation and the governments were stealing their wealth. In remarks that could possibly unnerve some Arab governments, the cleric praised the people of Tunisia for the uprising. All Muslims must fight for justice, he said, adding that he did not justify the killings of innocent people in Tunis. “I can name some three to four other countries where people are starving and their rulers are stealing public wealth,” he said. He also recited one couplet from the famous Tunisian romantic poet Al Shabie who said talking of political satire and people’s dignity – ‘If people desired to live with freedom they must accept the fate since the night vanishes and the cage is broken’ He said western countries must not interfere in Tunisia in the name of rescuing the country. Talking of France he said Tunisians wouldn’t accept their help for they know that its government is working against Muslims. “If France wants to help Muslims they must help us in Palestine,” said Al Qaradawi.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite 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.
(BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political January 16, 2011 Sunday Islamist cleric Al-Qaradawi calls for “new salvation government” in Tunisia Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 2054 gmt 15 Jan 11)
(BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political January 15, 2011 Saturday Qatari-based cleric Al-Qaradawi praises Tunisian “uprising” Source: The Peninsula website, Doha, in English 15 Jan 11)