BREAKING NEWS: France Bars Qaradawi From Attending French Muslim Brotherhood Conference

Youssef Qaradawi

Global media are reporting that France has barred Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi from entering France to attend next month’s conference to be held by the French Muslim Brotherhood. According to a Reuters report:

By Daniel Flynn PARIS | Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:09am EDT (Reuters) – France will bar radical Muslim preachers from entering the country to participate in an Islamic conference next month as part of a crackdown after shootings by an al Qaeda-inspired gunman, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday. Sarkozy, who has announced plans to punish those viewing Islamist Web sites and going abroad for indoctrination, said he would block the entry of some imams invited to a congress organized by the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF). The UOIF, one of three Muslim federations in France, is regarded as close to Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. “I have clearly indicated that there certain people who have been invited to this congress who are not welcome on French soil,” Sarkozy told France Info radio. He cited Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric based in Qatar who is one of the most prominent Sunni Muslim clerics in the Arab world and a household name in the Middle East due to regular appearances on the Al Jazeera news channel. A former member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi is independent of the group but remains close to it. Sarkozy said the situation was complicated because the imam holds a diplomatic passport and does not require a visa to enter France. “I indicated to the Emir of Qatar himself that this person was not welcome on the territory of the French republic,” Sarkozy said. “He will not come.” Qaradawi was denied a visa to visit Britain in 2008 on grounds of seeking to “justify acts of terrorist violence or disburse views that could foster inter-community violence”, a Home Office spokeswoman said at the time. The cleric had defended Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel and attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.”

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.

The UOIF is widely regarded as representing the Muslim Brotherhood in France. Fouad Alaoui and Lahj Breze took over the leadership of the UOIF in 1993 and were known as the “Bordelaise Clan”, a reference to the French town in which they met as students. They were generally regarded as more moderate than their predecessors Abdallah Ben Mansour and Ahmed Jaballah who have both served as officers of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Foud Alaoui is also a FIOE officer. In June 2011, a post reported that the UOIF elected Ahmed Jaballah as its new President, replacing Fouad Alaoui who was elected to a four-year term in 2009 but resigned his post. An earlier post reported that Jaballah was identified as a member of the “Meeting of Muslim Scholars and Thinkers”, an organizaton sponsored by the Saudi Muslim World League. A post from last week discussed a UOIF condemnation of the recent shootings in France that echoes standard Global Muslim Brotherhood themes about terrorism.

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