Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror
Posted: February 2, 2009
Updated: March 15, 2011
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar, has garnered worldwide appeal through a wide network of associations and by making use of various media outlets. Through his speeches and writings, Qaradawi has demonstrated consistent support of terrorist groups that seek to undermine a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In response to uprisings in several countries across the Middle East in early 2011, Qaradawi condemned the leaders of many of those regimes. In a February 21, 2011, interview with Al Jazeera television, Qaradawi encouraged Libyan soldiers to assassinate Libyan President Mu'ammar Qaddafi. Qaradawi also issued several fatwas in support of the Egyptian people and on February 18, 2011, spoke in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Qaradawi told Egyptian protestors, "I have hope that as God has delighted me to see a liberated Egypt, [so too will God] delight me with a conquered Al Aqsa," in Jerusalem.
Qaradawi similarly expressed his desire to see a "conquered" Jerusalem in a January 24, 2011, fatwa in which he negated Jewish attachment to Jerusalem and stated that it is the duty of Muslims to "defend" Jerusalem with "their lives, their money and all they possess, or else they will be subject to Allah's punishment."
This fatwa is part of Qaradawi's long record of inciting violence against Jews and Israel. During a sermon that aired on the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera TV on January 28, 2009, Qaradawi told his audience, "I will shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus I will seal my life with martyrdom." In another sermon on January 9, 2009, Qaradawi lashed out at Jews, including calling on God to "kill them, down to the very last one."
He has also refused to dialogue with Jews. Qaradawi declined to participate in the 8th annual conference organized by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue because of the participation of Jews. In a statement released by Qaradawi's office, he reportedly said, "How can we conduct a dialogue in a time when they seize lands, shed blood, burn farms, and demolish houses? Palestine's conundrum has to be resolved first before we sit together at the same table."
Qaradawi continues to endorse Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. In his latest major work, Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of Jihad (2009), Qaradawi chastises those Muslims who do not observe jihad as an obligatory duty, including participation in "physical jihad" if capable. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to legitimizing suicide bombing, or "martyrdom operations," which Qaradawi casts as a "defensive jihad against oppression." He encapsulates his view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with anti-Semitic rhetoric, attesting that the "Zionist massacres of today" are a continuation of alleged Jewish calls to genocide in the Old Testament.
During a July 2007 conference held in his honor in Doha, Qatar, titled "Imam al-Qaradawi: A Forum for Students and Friends," Qaradawi reiterated his support for suicide bombing and terrorist groups.
"I support the Palestinian cause. I support the resistance and the jihad," Qaradwi said according to MEMRI. "I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. I oppose the peace that Israel and America wish to dictate. This peace is an illusion. I support martyrdom operations."
The conference, indicative of his ability to attract a worldwide following, was attended by at least 90 supporters from all over the world, including Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who praised Qaradawi on one of his previous fatwas (legal opinions) endorsing suicide bombing.
Qaradawi, who has also expressed support for targeting American forces and civilians in Iraq, has been banned from the entering the U.S. since 1999 for his extremist views. In February 2008, Qaradawi was denied a visa to enter Britain for medical treatment.