With all the world focused on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, global media appear to be paying more attention to Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The German news magazine Der Speigel has posted an article titled “Islam’s Spiritual ‘Dear Abby’: The Voice of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.” The article begins:
He is a hypermarket of dogma, dispensing advice on subjects ranging from mother’s milk to suicide bombing. But few have as much influence on Sunni Muslims as the Muslim televangelist Youssef al-Qaradawi. He says what the Muslim Brotherhood in Egpyt thinks — and he provides clues to how they might act. This man is a word machine, a one-man talk show that leaves no subject unexamined. Youssef al-Qaradawi has to talk: about former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, about mothers’ milk banks, and about the right of Palestinian women to blow themselves up. He is a driven man. There are so many decisions to be made in this godforsaken modern age, and yet there is only one mufti, only one Islamic scholar like Qaradawi, who knew the Koran by heart by the time he was 10, only one man who can help the faithful understand the world. Qaradawi is the father figure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s best-organized opposition group. The Brotherhood is sure to play a part in deciding what path Egypt will now take. The Islamist group asked Qaradawi to be their leader in 2002, but he turned them down. Such a position would have been too limiting. He has a different mission. He feels compelled to talk. The Al-Jazeera television network has been broadcasting Qaradawi’s program “Shariah and Life” every Sunday for the past 15 years. Some 60 million Muslims watch him as he talks imploringly about the genocide in Gaza or the unique dangers of female masturbation (“the hymen is very sensitive and could tear”).
Qaradawi advocates establishing a “United Muslim Nations” as a contemporary form of the caliphate and the only alternative to the hegemony of the West. He hates Israel and would love to take up arms himself. In one of his sermons, he asked God “to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.” In January 2009, he said: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler.” Will this man encourage his brothers in Cairo to uphold the peace treaty with Israel, should the Muslim Brotherhood become part of a government now that Mubarak has resigned?
Read the rest here.
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.”
The GMBDW has been covering Qaradawi extensively in these pages for some time. Our coverage on him can be found here.