Gulf media has reported on remarks by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi in which he harshly criticized the Syrian regime which he said had committed “atrocities” against the protestors in that country. According to a Gulf Times report:
Qatar-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi yesterday slammed the “suppressive regime” in Syria, condemning the “atrocities” against protesters there. He said the “train of the Arab revolution” had arrived in Syria, demanding democracy, political and economic reforms, social justice and an end to corruption. The Qatar-based cleric, who enjoys wide respect in the Islamic world, said the regime in Syria could not tolerate any criticism against the presidency or the ruling Ba’ath party. “President Bashar Assad is an intellectual man but he has inherited a heavy political legacy that has made him a prisoner of his corrupted entourage” and “for those who wondered that Syria was far away from the revolutions, they have the answer (now).”Delivering the Friday sermon at the Omar bin al-Khattab mosque in Doha, Qaradawi said the Arab regimes did not seem to be learning from each other’s mistakes. “We still witness the same scenarios of suppressive policies in dealing with their people.” But he was sure that the revolutionary youth would emerge victorious everywhere finally. Qaradawi said that he had in the past offered to mediate between Syrian authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood “but someone took care that my initiative had failed”. He said that there were many political prisoners in Syria and tens of thousands of expatriate Syrians had been prevented from returning to their homeland. “We are also talking about some 15,000 missing people and their destiny should be immediately revealed.” The cleric said the army in Syria would play a “decisive role” like in Yemen. He said: “In Libya, reports are talking about 9,000 victims, killed by the regime’s mercenaries in the clashes.” “The entire Arab world should stand united and reforms should start from the zero point, away from hypocrisy.” Qaradawi criticised the remarks of Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa against the West’s approach towards the no-fly zone over Libya. “The operation in Libya is to protect the civilians from Gaddafi’s tyranny.”
In contrast, Al-Arabiya is reporting that Qaradawi has called the protest in Bahrain “sectarian” and accused Shiites there of attacking Sunnis and taking over their mosques. According to the report:
“There is no people’s revolution in Bahrain but a sectarian one,” al-Qaradawi said, “what is happening is not like what has happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, but it is the empowerment of some factions via foreign forces on others; thereby it does not include the demands of all of the Bahraini people.” According to al-Qaradawi, the imposition of one’s faction’s will power for its sole interest has snowballed events in the Gulf country. He said that when Sunni Bahrainis saw the protests by the Shiites, around 450 thousands went on the streets to demonstrate for their own set of demands. “The other Arab revolutions, with a common denominator of the oppressed against the oppressor, the Bahraini one is a sectarian, with Shiites against Sunnis,” he said, adding “in Egypt the revolution was inclusive of all Egyptians with all of their different backgrounds, Muslims, Christians, old, young, secular, religious, and the same can be said for Tunisians, Yemenis, and Libyans.” Meanwhile, Qaradawi said that he is not against Shiites, but he is against zealots, and against divisiveness and the empowering of one faction against another. He also described the protests by the Shiites as not so ‘peaceful’. He said that “the Shiites attacked Sunnis, and took over their mosques, and used weapons just like the hooligans we saw in Yemen and Egypt.” “For this reason I did not address the Bahraini revolution, because I could not find myself free, and I don’t have the enough information on what is happening.” He also urged ‘rationales’ from all sides to open a dialogue and set their differences, and he praised the Bahraini King’s Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa initiative for dialogue with the opposition as “good”. The prominent Islamic scholar warned of ‘danger’ when he described some Shiite Bahrainis carrying pictures of the Supreme Leader of Iran since 1989 Ayatollah Khamenei and Lebanon’s Hizbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah. “They carried Khamenei’s and Nasralah’s pictures as if they belong to Iran and not Bahrain, after all Bahrain belongs to the GCC, and we need them to show real citizenry.” Qaradawi expressed his affection to the Bahraini ruling family in his sermon, and described his relation with the late Sheikh Isa ibn Salman al-Khalifa as close.
Earlier posts discussed Qaradawi’s 2009 remarks in which he accused Shiites of “invading” Sunni communities. Other posts have discussed Qaradawi’s support of the political protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
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.”