French media is reporting that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi has resigned his position from the governing council of Al-Azhar. According to an AFP report, Qaradawi accused Al-Azhar of supporting the ruling military government in Egypt:
AFP, Doha 3 December 2013 Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi has resigned from the governing body of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, accusing the top Sunni seat of learning of supporting Egypt’s military-installed government.
‘I submit my resignation,’ Qaradawi wrote on Twitter and his Facebook page on Monday, accusing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, of ‘abusing the authority of the office to support the military coup.’
Egyptian-born Qaradawi, who has been based in Qatar since he was stripped of his citizenship decades ago, has been an outspoken critic of the army’s July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
The cleric, who retains huge influence through his regular appearances as a commentator on Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, issued a religious edict, or fatwa, calling on Egyptians to restore Mursi to ‘his legitimate post.’
‘We have waited for the sheikh of Al-Azhar to return to the correct path and to disassociate himself from the tyrant regime,’ he said in Monday’s posting.
Qaradawi, now 86, was jailed several times in the 1950s under the rule of president Gamal Abdel Nasser and left for Qatar in 1961.
He returned to the land of his birth 50 years later and led mass prayers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square shortly after president Hosni Mubarak was forced out in February 2011 in the face of the mass protests of the Arab Spring.”
Al-Azhar is located in Cairo and the Al-Azhar University is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Islamic world. In July 2008, we reported that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Qaradawi had been elected to the Al-Azhar Islamic Research Council. However, last month the GMBDW reported that senior Al-Azhar scholars had called for prosecuting the cleric for what they called “high treason.
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. MEMRI has produced two video compilations of Qaradawi’s extremist statements. The first collection contains Qaradawi’s statements about Europe and the US as well as about Israel and Jews. The second collection contains various statements by Qaradawi on social issues such as discussing the killing of homosexuals and stating that beating is “suitable” for some wives. Qaradawi been banned from entering the US since 1999 and UK since 2008. Last year, authorities also refused him entry into France. For a more extensive profile of Youssef Qaradawi, go here.