Gulf media has reported that in his Friday sermon, Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi has called for the immediate resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. According to a Gulf Time report:
Prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi yesterday called on Egypt’s embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately to avoid bloodshed, saying that the country’s military should topple Mubarak and hand power over to a transitional government. In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Qaradawi said the Egyptian military should serve as a “life boat” for the nation and fulfil the expectations of millions of people who have been protesting against the Mubarak regime during the last two weeks. “I call on the Egyptian army which has always been the shield and pride of its people to intervene and appoint the head of Egypt’s Constitutional Court as an interim president of the country as per the constitution,” Sheikh Qaradawi told a congregation at the Omar bin al-Khattab mosque at Khalifa Town. Qaradawi also held Mubarak responsible for the clashes that erupted on Wednesday between the anti-government demonstrators and his supporters. “The anti-Mubarak demonstrations remained peaceful until the thugs hired by Mubarak’s regime appeared on the stage riding horses and camels to intimidate the protesters on Tahrir Square,” he said. “If Mubarak is really a father of Egyptians as he claims he should resign immediately to stop the ongoing clashes and bloodshed. It is typical of totalitarian regimes to restrict access to information. It is not wise of Mubarak to hang on to power while massive demonstrations fill the streets calling for him to resign,” he said. The scholar also slammed the Egyptian minister of information’s decision to close the Al Jazeera television channel’s bureau in Cairo, saying it showed the regime had no respect for freedom. He also called on Egyptian youths to stick to their positions and to take to the streets throughout the country to demonstrate against what he called a “despotic regime”. “The Mubarak party has formed a government of corrupt businessmen. Forty percent of Egypt’s people are under the poverty line, while a corrupt minority is cashing in on the public money and resources,” he added.
In his remarks, Qaradawi also attempted to minimize the role of Muslim Brotherhood in the unrest:
He dismissed as untrue Mubarak’s claims that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the protests, saying that the uprising was not driven by any “internal or external parties”. “Those great young people who took to the streets to express their opinions and anger were moved by grievances that continued for 30 years. It is true that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking part, but they are participating as any other group. It is a popular revolution to which no political party or groups in Egypt can make claims,” he said. He estimated that no more than 10% of the protesters were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
An earlier post discussed an Egyptian Brotherhood statement claiming that current events in Egypt are not linked to “Islamic tendencies.”
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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