Global media are widely reporting on comments by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi calling on Sunni Muslims to join the Syrian rebels. According to an AFP report, Qaradawi also sharply criticized Iran and Hezbollah alleging that Iran wants “continued massacres to kill Sunnis”:
Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called on Sunni Muslims to join the rebels fighting the Syrian regime, as he lashed out at Shiite group Hezbollah for sending its men to fight the mostly-Sunni insurgents in Syria. Qaradawi, a controversial figure in the West but who has millions of supporters, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, also hit out at Iran for backing the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
‘Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that [must]make himself available’ to support the Syrian rebels, the cleric said at a rally in Doha late Friday.
‘Iran is pushing forward arms and men [to back the Syrian regime], so why do we stand idle?’ he said, branding Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which means the party of God in Arabic, as the ‘party of Satan’.
Hezbollah, a close ally of Iran and the Syrian regime, is openly engaged in the fight against the rebels in Syria. It has also fought for years against Israel, arch rival of Iran and Syria.
‘The leader of the party of the Satan comes to fight the Sunnis… Now we know what the Iranians want… They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis,’ Qaradawi said.
‘How could 100 million Shiites [worldwide]defeat 1.7 billion [Sunnis]?’ he exclaimed, ‘only because [Sunni] Muslims are weak’.
The cleric blamed himself for previously backing Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah who gained popularity after steadfastly leading his group in the fight against Israel in 2006.
‘I defended the so-called Nasrallah and his party, the party of tyranny… in front of clerics in Saudi Arabia,’ which is wary of neighbouring Shiite Iran and its allies.
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A Reuters report adds that Qaradawi, who is in his late 80s, said he would himself go and fight had he been able to do so. Middle Eastern media are describing Qaradawi’s commons as a “call for Jihad.”
In 2008, Qaradawi caused a firestorm in the Islamic world when he accused Shiite Muslims of being heretics who were “invading” Sunni society, accusations he repeated in 2009.
Youssef Qaradawi is the most important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and is 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 is the head of the Union of Good (UOG), a worldwide coalition of charities helping to raise funds for Hamas and is the leader of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the theological body of the European Muslim Brotherhood.
For a more extensive profile of Youssef Qaradawi, go here.