MIDEAST CRISIS: Qaradawi Says Freedom More Important Than Islamic Law


An Egyptian newspaper is reporting on comments by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader in which he said that “preserving people’s freedom” is more important than setting up Islamic law. According to a report in Al-Masry Al-Youm:

Preserving the people’s freedom is more important than setting up a system of Sharia (Islamic law), even though freedom remains part and parcel of Sharia, said Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Friday evening in an interview with Al Jazeera television network. Al-Qaradawi, who is an influential Islamic thinker and president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group. Recently, some members of the Brotherhood have tried to alleviate concerns that they want to establish an Islamic state by asserting that the Brotherhood does not seek to the rule the country or establish an Islamist government in Egypt. Al-Qaradawi also emphasized that the army should protect the nation and the rights of the people, rather than rule the country. He stressed that the right to protest peacefully for the sake of a better life is granted by Islam and recognized by every human rights convention. He congratulated the Egyptian people and the Arab nation on the departure of President Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of the revolutionary struggle. He described the young revolutionaries as honorable Egyptians who went beyond the call of duty to achieve national justice.Al-Qaradawi expressed his confidence that God had aided them because he aids those who sacrifice in order to bring about justice, adding, “I was sure that God would aid the revolutionaries. I swore in my Friday sermon that God would soon help these youth, and that is indeed what turned out happening.” Holding the ousted president responsible for the bloodshed, he said that “God wanted to award this victory to the Egyptian people” and denounced claims that Egyptians were servile and slavish. He added that Tahrir Square had become a university for the educating the virtues of self-sacrifice, and suggested that the square should be renamed “25 January Revolution Square.” Al-Qaradawi praised independent media outlets for disclosing facts and uncovering falsehoods while criticizing government owned media outlets as misleading. He accused the later of having continued its campaign of deception up to the final moments before Mubarak’s resignation was announced.

Earlier posts reported Qaradawi’s comments minimizing the role of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian events and a statement on the Brotherhood website claiming that the protests were not linked to “Islamic tendencies. However, later reporting by US media indicates that the Muslim Brotherhood played a larger role in the demonstrations than has previously been reported.

It is likely that these reassurances from Qaradawi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood are intended to reassure Western audiences but may also be a reflection of the importance that the Global Muslim Brotherhood places on the political change in Egypt and its meaning for the future of Egypt’s relationship with Israel.

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.

Qaradawi recently reiterated his support for suicide bombing in Israel and expressed his desire to die as a martyr “at the hands of a non-Muslim.”

To see all GMBDW coverage of developments, go here.

For GMBDW coverage on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.

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