Egyptian media is reporting that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi will lead Friday prayers for the first time at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, considered to be the main center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world. According to an Ahram Online report:
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 Islamist cleric Youssef El-Qaradawi is to lead Friday prayers at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo for the first time. Minister of Endowments Talaat Afifi, along with ministry officials and Al-Azhar scholars, will be attending the prayers, which will take place this week. Qaradawi, an internationally renowned Egyptian Islamic scholar and President of the World Union of Muslim Scholars, is known to be the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. He lives in Qatar, having been exiled in the 1960s by president Gamal Abdel Nasser. He returned to Egypt in the wake of the Egyptian January 25 Revolution, giving a speech in Tahrir Square.
There is also one Arabic language report suggesting that Egyptian President Morsi as well as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an will also be officiating at Al-Azhar but this could not be positively confirmed. If true, it would represent an extraordinary coming together of three major powers in the Global Muslim Brotherhood. It should also be noted that this appearance(s) take on additional significance given events inGaza.
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. A post from August reported that Qaradawi had been included as part of a list of Islamic scholars to be appointed to an Egyptian national board of senior Islamic scholars (Ulema). A post from late October reported that Qaradawi had been hospitalized once again.