The widely respected Sunni Muslim cleric who holds Egyptian and Qatari nationalities, also encouraged Egyptians to keep up peaceful protests, in an interview with Al-Jazeera television. “President Mubarak … I advise you to depart from Egypt … There is no other solution to this problem but for Mubarak to go,” Qaradawi said on Saturday. The cleric, a resident of Qatar who has a popular program on Al-Jazeera to advise on Islamic laws, heads the International Union for Muslim Scholars. He is considered one of the world’s top Sunni preachers. “Go Mubarak, have mercy on this people and leave so as not to increase the destruction of Egypt,” he added. “There is no staying longer, Mubarak, I advise you (to learn) the lesson of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali,” he said, referring to Tunisia’s deposed president who fled to Saudi Arabia. Qaradawi, a spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has in the past defended “violence carried out by certain Muslims.” “Some violence is legitimate in the eyes of both religion and law, such as resistance to the occupation in Palestine, Lebanon or in Iraq,” Qaradawi said last September. “We call for peace because our religion orders it, but if war is imposed on us we will take it to our hearts.”
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.
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