AFP Published: 17:08 April 23, 2013 Doha: Influential Muslim cleric Yousuf Al Qaradawi boycotted an inter-faith dialogue conference that opened in Doha on Tuesday, refusing to sit in the meeting also attended by Jewish representatives, a local daily reported.
‘I decided not to participate so I wouldn’t sit at the same platform alongside Jews who still violate Palestine and destroy mosques and as long as the Palestinian issue has not been resolved,’ Al Qaradawi told the Al Arab daily of Qatar. ‘
There is no more injustice than what the Jews have caused to our people in Palestine.’
The International Union of Muslim Scholars which he heads is, however, represented at the conference which brings together 500 personalities from 75 countries representing the three monotheistic religions.
Egypt-born Al Qaradawi is a controversial religious figure in the West and has millions of supporters — mainly from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
He hosts a popular show on Al Jazeera satellite television and has backed the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.
“This is not the first time Qaradawi has refused to attend interfaith meetings where Jews were present. In October 2009, he also said that he would not attend an interfaith conferences where Jews were represented. According to a BBC translation of his remarks (see source below):
Shaykh Al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars [IUMS], has criticized the recent inter-faith dialogue held in Doha, pointing out that such conferences do not present anything to the Muslim nation. Al-Qaradawi said that he did not attend the conference because representatives from the Jewish religion have attended it. He went on to say that he will not attend such conferences which are attended by Jews as long as “they keep usurping Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque and shedding the blood of the innocent people.” On the reason behind his absence from the conference, Al-Qaradawi said that he did that relying on what God the Almighty said in this context: “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury). [Partial Koranic verse, Al-Ankabut, 29:46]. “He indicated that there is no injustice more than what the Jews inflicted on the Palestinians when “the Jews came to Palestine from all over the world and expelled the Palestinians, scattered them, and shed their blood.
Youssef Qaradawi is the most important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and can be considered to be the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were utilized by Hamas to justify their operations. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to head he Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. He is based in Qatar and has said the Qatari Emir has protected from being designated as a terrorist by the U.S. He has also reportedly amassed substantial wealth by serving as the Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. Qaradawi has made frequent extremist statements including:
- Predicting that Islam will conquer Europe through peaceful means.
- Calling Hitler a divine punishment for the “misdeeds of the Jews” and that the Holocaust was exaggerated.
- Saying that he wants to end his life “in the service of Jihad” by visiting Israel and throwing a bomb, becoming a “martyr” in the process
- Calling for the death of all Jews.
- Calling for the collapse of the US if it doesn’t end its “unjust ways.”