Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, Islamist chief of Arab revolts, dies at age 96
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Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, a non secular information to the Muslim Brotherhood who championed the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and unsettled rulers in Egypt and the Gulf together with his Islamist preaching, died on Monday. He was 96.
Born in Egypt, Qaradawi spent a lot of his life in Qatar, the place he turned some of the recognisable and influential Sunni Muslim clerics within the Arab world because of common appearances on Qatar’s Al Jazeera community.
Broadcast into hundreds of thousands of properties, his sermons fuelled tensions that led Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies to impose a blockade on Qatar in 2017 and declare Qaradawi a terrorist.
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His loss of life was introduced on his official Twitter account.
Qaradawi, who studied at Cairo’s Al-Azhar College, was typically described by supporters as a reasonable who provided a counterweight to the unconventional ideologies espoused by al-Qaeda. He strongly condemned the Sept. 11, 2001 assaults in america, and supported democratic politics.
However he additionally sanctioned violence in causes he favoured.
In Iraq after a 2003 U.S.-led invasion, he backed assaults on coalition forces and he supported Palestinian suicide bombing towards Israeli targets throughout an rebellion that started in 2000.
A number of Western states banned him from entry.
Through the Arab Spring uprisings he referred to as for Libyan chief Muammar Gaddafi to be killed and declared jihad towards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities.
Qaradawi joined the Muslim Brotherhood as a younger man. Advocating Islam as a political programme, the Brotherhood has been seen as a risk by autocratic Arab leaders because it was based in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, whom Qaradawi knew.
He turned down the prospect to guide the organisation, as an alternative specializing in preaching and Islamic scholarship and constructing a following that prolonged effectively past the group.
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His prominence grew after the 2011 Arab revolts.
Visiting Cairo after the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak, he informed a packed Tahrir Sq. that worry had been lifted from Egyptians who had toppled a modern-day pharaoh.
The looks captured the size of change that appeared to be sweeping the area, with long-oppressed Islamists having fun with new freedoms and a Brotherhood member, Mohamed Mursi, being elected president in 2012.
When the army, inspired by mass protests, toppled Mursi a yr later, Qaradawi condemned the brand new, army-led order because it unleashed a ferocious crackdown on the Brotherhood.
He urged a boycott of the presidential election which made military commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi president in 2014.
“The obligation of the nation is to withstand the oppressors, restrain their fingers and silence their tongues,” Qaradawi mentioned.
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“He is any person who was dedicated to democracy and standard sovereignty from an Islamic perspective,” mentioned David Warren, a scholar of up to date Islam and analysis fellow at Washington College in St. Louis.
“However being a democrat doesn’t suggest that somebody must be a pacifist, so within the context of a civil battle like Libya and Syria, he might maintain these positions whereas equally saying that Gaddafi is a tyrant who ought to be killed…,” he mentioned.
Jailed quite a few instances in Egypt as a younger man, Qaradawi was sentenced to loss of life in absentia by an Egyptian courtroom in 2015, together with Mursi and a few 90 others. Qaradawi mentioned the rulings, which associated to a mass jail break in 2011, had been nonsense and violated Islamic regulation, noting that he was in Qatar on the time.
He criticised Riyadh for backing Sisi, whereas his assaults on Sisi and assist for the Brotherhood fuelled tensions between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, one other supporter of Egypt’s new authorities, on the opposite.
Each Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in 2014.
In 2014 when Riyadh and its allies withdrew ambassadors from Doha, Qaradawi stopped his Friday sermons, saying he needed to ease some strain on Qatar, his adopted residence for the reason that Sixties.
However he nonetheless criticised Egypt’s new ruler in statements.
Qaradawi, who memorised the Koran by age 10, chaired the Worldwide Union of Muslim Students (IUMS). He opposed takfir, an idea utilized by Islamist militants to justify killing Muslims who disagreed with them by declaring them non-believers.
Qaradawi additionally opposed the ultra-radical Islamic State group, saying he completely disagreed with Daesh “in ideology and means”.
When IS burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot in 2015, the IUMS mentioned the group didn’t symbolize Islam in any means.
Nevertheless, he rejected the U.S. position in combating the group as self-interested. Critics famous how that place appeared to distinction together with his tacit assist for U.S. motion in Syria in 2013 when Washington thought-about – however by no means carried out – strikes on the Syrian authorities over the usage of chemical weapons.
On that event, Qaradawi urged international powers had been God’s instrument for vengeance.
The battle in Syria, the place Sunni rebels battled the Alawite-led state backed by Shi’ite Iran, turned Qaradawi towards the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, which he had as soon as praised for combating Israel. He condemned it as “the occasion of the satan”.
He staunchly supported the Palestinian wrestle with Israel.
On a 2013 go to to Gaza hosted by its ruling Hamas Islamist group, Qaradawi mentioned: “We must always search to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, inch by inch.”