Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror
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
Qaradawi similarly expressed his desire to see a "conquered"
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
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
Early Relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood
Qaradawi, born in
He was arrested several times by Egyptian government authorities between 1949 and 1961 due of his activities with the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1951, Qaradawi toured
In 1961, Qaradawi moved to
Although Qaradawi has built a media empire formally independent of the Muslim Brotherhood, he remains the premier spiritual guide to the Islamist movement. The Brotherhood offered Qaradawi their highest leadership position of "General Guide" in 1973, after the death of the group's second General Guide, Hassan Al-Hudaybi, which Qaradawi declined in 1976. Qaradawi declined the position again in 2002, following the death of organization's fifth General Guide Mustafa Mashhur.
Despite refusal to formally adopt the helm of the Brotherhood, Qaradawi maintains a close cooperation with the organization and its members. According to his memoirs, Ibn al-Qarya wa'l-Kuttab (Son of the Village and the
Qaradawi's Activities over Last Decade
Qaradawi has established a worldwide following through television appearances and by utilizing the Internet. He was relatively quick to take advantage of the Internet, launching a site in his name in 1997. The site includes several of his fatwas supporting terror. In 2006, Qaradawi used his Web site to denounce a Danish newspaper's cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad and declared February 3, 2006, an "international day of rage."
Qaradawi hosts a weekly television show called "Shariah and Life" on the Arabic-language television news network, Al Jazeera, where he also expresses his support for terror. For example, during an April 2004 show, he credited Allah with providing Palestinians "human bombs," instead of the planes, missiles and weapons that Zionists have. In addition, his Friday sermons at the Umar bin al-Khattab mosque, a government-sponsored mosque in
Qaradawi is also influential through a wide network of affiliations. In the
Prior to being banned from the
Despite the ban, Qaradawi's message still reaches the American public via satellite television and the Internet, in particular IslamOnline, a Web site published in both Arabic and English. The site contains articles and religious rulings which support violence against non-Muslims, as well as anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American content.
Recent Selected Books
Qaradawi has also written over 40 books, many of which have been published in different languages and disseminated throughout the world. In Qaradawi's Fiqh of Jihad, published in 2009, he chastises those Muslims who do not observe the obligatory duty of jihad, including violent jihad, and attempt to "cast a veil of oblivion on jihad and drop it from the life of the Ummah [the Muslim community]." In the introduction to the book, Qaradawi writes, "Without jihad, the Ummah's boundaries will be violated, the blood of its people will be as cheap as dust, its sanctuaries will be less worthy than a handful of desert sand, and it will be insignificant in the eyes of its enemies." A significant portion of the work 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.
In another of his books, Fatawa' Min Ajl Falastin [Fatwas for the Sake of
Support for Terror
Although Qaradawi has condemned the murder of civilians, including the September 11 terrorist attacks, he supports terrorist activities against
In 2009, Qaradawi reportedly allocated $21 million to Hamas to buy apartments and plots of land in
On October 12, 2010, through a recorded message played by the Hamas-affiliated Ministry of Religious Endowment in
Several days later, on his weekly "Shariah and Life" television show on the Al Jazeera network, Qaradawi was asked by the interviewer if Muslims should attempt to acquire nuclear weapons "to terrorize their enemies." Qaradawi, noting his pleasure to learn
Qaradawi also has a long record of inciting violence against Jews. In a sermon that aired on the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera TV in January 2009, Qaradawi expressed his desire to "go to the
Qaradawi has declared his unwavering support for Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on numerous occasions.
Qaradawi is a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic movement founded in
Its ideology is rooted in anti-Semitism. For example, Said Qutb, the group's leading intellectual, wrote an essay in 1950 titled "Our Struggle with the Jews," in which he argues that the Jews had always been enemies of Muslims and in modern times used secular Western culture to corrupt and ultimately destroy Islam.
In early 2004, Qaradawi declined an offer to serve as the group's leader, a position he said had first been offered 28 years earlier. His prominence in the movement was underscored when he and two other Brotherhood leaders met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in May 2004 in an effort to improve the group's relations with Assad's government.
European Council for Fatwa and Research
Qaradawi is chairman and president of this Dublin-based group, which he founded in 1997 to establish a central religious authority for European Muslims. The organization issues fatwas that guide European Muslims to follow Shariah, or Islamic law, outside of the Muslim world.
The Council does not acknowledge the state of
During its annual conference in 2003, the Council issued a fatwa supporting suicide bombing operations against coalition forces in
International Association of Muslim Scholars
Qaradawi is founder and president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), which was officially launched on July 11, 2004, in
In September 2004, Qaradawi led an IAMS delegation to
The Al-Qaradawi Centre for Research and Modern Thought, established in April 2009, is a "center for jurisprudence" under the aegis of Qatar Foundation's Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), an Islamic university in
In an August 2009 interview with the Qatar Foundation shortly after the Al-Qaradawi Centre opened, Dr. Hatem El-Karanshawy, the Founding Dean of QFIS, said Qaradawi is "very well known for his moderate thinking and for his ability to face the challenges facing Muslims all over the world."
Sheikh Qaradawi's affiliation with the university goes beyond being the namesake of its research center. Qaradawi reportedly participated in the commemoration ceremony for students on May 6, 2008, where he announced the Sheikh Al-Qaradawi Scholarship program. Five annual scholarships will be offered to students per year for a Master of Arts in Islamic Studies with a specialization in Contemporary Fiqh (Jurisprudence).
Qaradawi also shields the Qatar Foundation's other projects from controversy with support in religious terms. In October 2009, Qaradawi reportedly provided verbal support to a stem cell storage bank that sought to operate within the Qatar Foundation's Science and
In 1999, Qaradawi founded the online media outlet IslamOnline in
The site was dedicated to all facets of Islamic life, but it focused primarily on religious and political topics. It contained articles and religious rulings which supported violence against non-Muslims, as well as anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American content. In several news stories, Zionism was referred to as a "cancer," and numerous reports claimed that the close ties between the
Many of the fatwas posted on the site condoned violence. For instance, a July 2007 fatwat by Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, deputy chairman of European Council for Fatwa and Research, read: "Martyr operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one's life."
In March 2010, after more than a decade, a reorganization by Al-Balagh Cultural Society, the company that owns the site, resulted in an end to Qaradawi's affiliation with the site.
After Qardawi's cut his ties with the Web site IslamOnline, some of the editorial staff also left and created a new online media outlet, called OnIslam. Although no explicit connection between Qaradawi and OnIslam has been reported, it appears that Qaradawi is engaged in the new initiative. The same week OnIslam launched in October 2010, the site published an extensive interview it conducted with Qaradawi "on the occasion of the official launch."
Much of the content from IslamOnline is available on OnIslam, including Qaradawi's own fatwas expressing support for "martyrdom operations," or suicide bombing against
The site includes articles and religious rulings supporting violence against homosexuals, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content. On February 24, 2011, OnIslam launched a new section as part of its "special focus on the institution of the family" that is singularly dedicated condemning homosexuals, arguing against gay rights and providing Islamic fatwas that call for the "worldly punishment" of death for gays.
An anti-Semitic fatwa by Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti was posted to the site on January 5, 2009. The ruling by El-Shinqiti, the former director of an Islamic center in
Muslim American Society
The Muslim American Society (MAS), based in
Qaradawi is chairman (in absentia) of the Michigan-based Islamic American University (IAU), a subsidiary of MAS, according to information on the MAS Web site. He is also listed by the IAU as a faculty member.
The IAU vice-chairman, Jamal Badawi, and IAU's founder, Salah Sultan, are members of Qaradawi's International Association of Muslim Scholars and the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Both Badawi and Sultan attended a conference in July 2007 honoring Qaradawi and his support for suicide bombing in
In 2006 Sultan was a keynote speaker at a Hamas rally in
Islamic Society of
ISB was formed in 1981 in an effort to help new Muslims in the
ISB's founder and first President was Abdurahman Alamoudi, a prominent Muslim-American community leader who pleaded guilty to accusations that he had illegal dealings with
In 2005 the ISB filed a defamation lawsuit against 17 defendants -- journalists, scholars and activist groups who expressed concerns about the society's leaders. In May 2007, ISB agreed to drop the lawsuit, claiming victory because the deal also brought to an end a related lawsuit that threatened the construction of a mosque in
Al Taqwa Bank
This Bahamas-based financial institution, designated as terrorist financiers by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2001, concealed terrorists' holdings, according to
In January 2007, the Egyptian government froze the assets of Yusuf Nada, the head of the Al Taqwa Bank, because of his involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic extremist movement founded in
Qaradawi serves as the president of the Union of Good (UG), a charity organization that was designated as a terrorist entity by the U.S. Department of Treasury on November 12, 2008. The UG, established in 2000 and based in
The UG is linked with various Hamas-affiliated organizations and has transferred tens of millions of dollars to Hamas directly. Hamas uses the money to support terrorism and the families of suicide bombers, according to court documents.
Several of the primary charities under the UG umbrella are also designated as terrorist entities by the U.S. for providing support to Hamas and other terrorist organizations, including Australian based Al-Aqsa Foundation, the United Kingdom-based International Palestine Relief and Development Fund (Interpal), and the France-based Comite de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP). Another organization under the UG umbrella, the Al-Salah Society, was designated in August 2007 after it was discovered that the now defunct charity employed members of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, during the first Intifada.
In His Own Words
-January 24, 2011, fatwa negating Jewish attachment to
"There is nothing new about this planned project, except that the Zionist media machine has exercised its influence on the public opinion, turning them against Islamic manifestations. Now, their anti-Muslim feelings are rising day after day."
-October 18, 2010, interview regarding the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in
"Not one inch of the
-October 12, 2010, recorded speech played by the Hamas-affiliated Ministry of Religious Endowment in Gaza quoted by Sawt Al Aqsa, Gazan Radio station
"I supported martyrdom operations, and I was not the only one…This is a necessary thing, as I told them in
-February 8, 2010, interview with BBC Arabic
"Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers."
-January 30, 2009, Sermon on Al-Jazeera TV (MEMRI)
"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."
-January 28, 2009, Sermon on Al-Jazeera TV (MEMRI)
"Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people… do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one."
-January 9, 2009, Sermon on Al-Jazeera TV (MEMRI)
"I do not automatically permit martyrdom operations. I permit them under specific constraints, when necessary – like in the case of our Palestinian brothers, who are forced to defend themselves by turning themselves into bombs... I sanctioned bombings and sacrifice operations for the Palestinians only – not because their enemies are Jews, but because they are occupiers, and the Palestinians cannot fight them. They kill Palestinians on a daily basis, destroy their homes, burn their fields, uproot their trees, and so on."
-February 15, 2008, interview on Al Hiwar TV (MEMRI)
"I support the Palestinian cause. I support the resistance and the jihad. I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. I oppose the peace that
-July 12-14, 2007, speech at the conference "Imam al-Qaradawi: A Forum for Students and Friends" (MEMRI)
"Actually, Muslim countries differ over the issue of female circumcision… I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. But whoever chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin for it is mainly meant to dignify women as held by scholars."
-July 1, 2007, Response to question about female circumcision (IslamOnline)
"It is incumbent on Muslims, wherever they may be, to shoulder their responsibility of defending
-May 14, 2007, Response to question about defending
"O God, support us against your enemies, the enemies of Islam. O God, support us against the criminal, aggressor, and usurper Zionists and their rancorous and plotting crusader allies, and all your enemies, the enemies of religion."
-January 26, 2007, sermon on
"When the enemy assaults a given Muslim territory, it becomes incumbent upon all its residents to fight against them to the extent that a woman should go out even without the consent of her husband… I think the committed Muslim women in
-November 6, 2006, response to question about use of women as suicide bombers (IslamOnline)
"We fight for the two good outcomes: victory or martyrdom."
-July 27, 2006, interview in Al-Wafd newspaper (BBC Monitoring, August 2, 2006)
"The nation must rage in anger…We are lions that zealously protect their dens, and avenge affronts to their sanctities. We are not a nation of jackasses. We are a nation that should rage for the sake of Allah, His Prophet, and His book. We are the nation of Muhammad, and we must never accept the degradation of our religion."
-February 3, 2006, sermon on Qatar Television, referring to what the Muslim nation must do in response to the Danish cartoon scandal. In the same sermon Qaradawi also argues that Jews are protected by laws that prohibit the debate on the number of victims in the "alleged Holocaust." (MEMRI)
"We do not disassociate Islam from the war. On the contrary, disassociating Islam from the war is the reason for our defeat. We are fighting in the name of Islam....They fight us with Judaism, so we should fight them with Islam. They fight us with the Torah, so we should fight them with the Koran… Religion must lead the war. This is the only way we can win."
-February 25, 2006, sermon on Qatar Television (MEMRI)
"O God, make Islam's word the highest, and the word of the enemies of Islam the lowest. O God, support us against your enemies, the enemies of Islam wherever they may be. O God, support us against the treacherous, usurper, oppressive, and arrogant Jews and against their allies, the plotting rancorous Crusaders… O God, make fate turn against them and send affliction in their way and stop their domination of your land. Don't let them dominate any of your faithful subjects. O God, unleash your might on them; the might that cannot be faced by criminal people. O God… defeat them and give us victory over them. O God, support our brother mujahidin for your sake in the
-June 10, 2005, sermon on
"The battle between us and the Jews began when they occupied the
"I say 'the hostile Crusaders,' and I mean 'the aggressive Americans who lean towards
"A few years ago the Vatican published a document proclaiming the Jews innocent of spilling Jesus' blood, but whoever reads history knows how the Jews incited the Roman governor to crucify Jesus…we believe that the Jews, I mean, they commit this crime."
-January 16, 2005, Al -Jazeera TV (MEMRI)
"[A campaign against me] has been unleashed by World Zionism and its strategic ally the
-January 7, 2005, sermon on
"Oh My nation, the struggle has become obligatory….We should no longer speak with words; rather let the spears have their say…
-January 5, 2005, poem posted to Qaradawi.net (MEMRI)
"Look for the Zionists behind every disaster. We have found their fingers in Darfur, and their fingers are in
September 10, 2004, interview with Al Sharq, an Arabic-language Qatari newspaper (Qaradawi.net)
"Fighting American civilians in
-August 31, 2004, address to the Journalists Syndicate in
"Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do."
-July 7, 2004, interview with BBC TWO's Newsnight
"O God, deal with your enemies, the enemies of Islam. O God, spare us their plots, blunt their weapons, and remove their empire and power from your earth…O God, make the word of Islam superior and the word of the enemies of Islam inferior. O God, we turn to You against them. Spare us their evil."
-April 30, 2004, sermon on
"Women's participation in the martyrdom suicide operations carried out in
-May 25, 2003, fatwa (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2003)
"The American aggression on the whole region wants to impose the total American hegemony on us, and such a procedure cannot be accepted at all. The one who launches attacks against the American presence is really carrying the spirit of true defenders. When one dies while carrying out such attacks, then he is a martyr, in sha' Allah if his intention was to do the act for Allah's Cause, even though some people consider him committing a wrong."
-March 24, 2003, fatwa on "seeking martyrdom by attacking
"America is the Pharaoh of the new era, and the greatest deceiver in the world – killing people and assassinating them without properly charging them [legally]….
-March 14, 2003, Friday sermon (Qaradawi.net)
"The Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation.
"Calling for peace at this time is treason."
-April 28, 2002, Al Jazeera program "The Islamic Law and Life" (BBC Monitoring, April 30, 2002)
"Muslims are not allowed to indulge in any form of dealings with the militant Jews who tend to wage war against Islam and Muslims….
-April 28, 2002, fatwa (IslamOnline)
"Has fighting colonizers become a criminal and terrorist act for some sheikhs...Israeli society was completely military in its make-up and did not include any civilians. Men and women are soldiers. They are all occupying soldiers….
-December 4, 2001, in response to condemnations of a suicide attack that killed 26 Israelis (Agence France-Presse, December 4, 2001)
"If the enemy of Islam invades a Muslim country, Jihad becomes an individual obligation upon the people of that country…As for Muslims living beyond the territories [that were invaded] they are required to back the wronged with all means possible."
-October 10, 2001, fatwa supporting resistance to American forces in
"If such attacks were carried out by a Muslim – as some biased groups claim – then we, in the name of our religion, deny the act and incriminate the perpetrator."
-September 13, 2001, condemning 9-11 (IslamOnline)
"These martyr operations led by the Palestinian fighters against
-May 12, 2001 (Agence France-Presse, June 2, 2001)
"Israeli society is a military society, and every person is either a soldier in the Israeli Army or a reserve soldier. This society must be intimidated, until they return to the countries from which they came."
-April 11, 2001, interview with Al Jazeera
"They are not suicide operations. These are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out don't embark on this action out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors."
-April 2001 interview with Al Raya, a Qatari newspaper (Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2001)
"Groups like Hamas, Jihad and Hezbollah are legitimately fighting the forces that occupied their land, made their people homeless, confiscated their futures. Their religion (Islam) makes it obligatory for them to defend their land and homes….
-February 7, 2001 (IslamOnline)
The processes of normalization with the Zionist regime are prohibited and unacceptable from the Shariah [Islamic law] standpoint. This normalization necessarily involves recognition by Arabs and Muslims of Zionist sovereignty over the lands that they usurped and arrogated from the Muslims….
-August 1999 interview with Gaza-based Islamist weekly Al Istiklal (published by Palestine Times, a pro-Hamas Web publication)
"There should be no dialogue with these people [Israelis] except with swords."
-January 7, 1998, Associated Press
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