U.K. media is reporting that the police chief of Dubai has threatened to arrest Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who criticized the UAE for revoking the visas of Syrians demonstrating against the regime in Damascus. According to a Financial Times report:
Dubai’s police chief has launched a war of words with an influential Qatar-based cleric who criticised the United Arab Emirates for revoking the visas of Syrians demonstrating against the regime in Damascus. Dhahi Khalfan al-Tamim late on Sunday threatened to arrest Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi after the senior cleric branded the decision to revoke the Syrians’ visas as “forbidden” under religious law, reminding the rulers of the United Arab Emirates that the protesters were only “human”. The sheikh has been an enthusiastic champion of Arab revolutions and has ties with Islamist groups in the region that have emerged as major beneficiaries of the political upheaval. Appearing live on Al Jazeera, the Doha-based satellite TV channel, Sheikh Qaradawi said the leader of the Syrian opposition had asked him to raise the issue of around 100 families that face the threat of expulsion from the UAE after taking part in a February rally against President Bashar al-Assad outside the Syrian consulate in Dubai. The UAE government has said the visas of around 30 Syrians were revoked for unidentified political activity unrelated to the demonstration. Human Rights Watch, the campaigning group, has called on the Emirates to reverse the decision. The UAE, while active in Arab attempts to end the bloodshed in Syria, is concerned about the political unpredictability of a post-Assad environment. Qatar takes a more proactive role in seeking to shape the changes sweeping the Middle East. The Egyptian-born Sheikh Qaradawi is a Qatari citizen and has close ties with the ruling family, although officials in Doha say he does not represent their views. Mr Tamim, the longstanding Dubai police chief, who has recently raised concern over the threat to Gulf states from Islamism and Iran, responded via Twitter, raising questions about Sheikh Qaradawi for his links to political activism. He went on to criticise the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamist organisation. After a repeat of the Al Jazeera programme in which the offending segment appeared to have been removed, Mr Tamim asked his Twitter followers to drop the subject. Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, has been particularly concerned about the increasing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood since revolutions swept through the Middle East. The authorities last year revoked the nationality of seven UAE Islamists, citing unspecified security violations. The decision came after the sentencing, followed by a pardon, of five activists who had been involved in calls for greater democracy in the UAE.”
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.