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Friday, February 26, 2021

Qatar’s Al Qaradawi under fire following recent suicide attacks

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Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi

Emirati critics have been lambasting Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi this week following a spate of bombings in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bangladesh.

Some have accused the 89-year-old Qatari scholar of supporting such suicide attacks, after he previously condoned Palestinian bombers who killed Israelis.

However, Al Qaradawi denounced the recent carnage last week, saying:

Translation: I condemn the terrorist explosions in Medina, Al-Qatif, Jeddah, Karrada and elsewhere. Islam is innocent of these crimes that reap safe souls and shed pure blood.

But the message caused an outcry, with many responding to the condemnation by calling Al Qaradawi a liar and a war criminal.

Both the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash joined in, saying last week:

Translation: Does everyone remember when the honorable (Saudi) scholar, the late Bin Baz denounced suicide attacks and called them un-Islamic? Now does everyone remember when the mufti of the Muslim Brothers, Al-Qaradawi, legitimated and encouraged those very same attacks?

In response, Al Qaradawi distanced himself from previous comments about suicide bombings, saying:

Translation: In response to Abdullah bin Zayed’s claims that I encourage suicide attacks, I can only say that one should forgive, call people to the way of God peacefully and shun ignorant people. We take shelter in God from the devil when he is let loose and starts wreaking havoc.

Emirati newspapers also weighed in. An editorial in The National yesterday praised the youth for “calling out” extremist preachers on social media, and singled out Al Qaradawi.

Hostile relationship

The UAE and Al Qaradawi have been at odds for years over the Egypt-born scholar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam.

In 2014, Al Qaradawi incensed Emirati officials by criticizing both the new Egyptian government and the Gulf governments that supported it.

Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi

Since then, Egypt has demanded his extradition from Qatar, and even had Interpol issue an arrest warrant for the scholar.

However, he remains in Qatar, and continues to have widespread support here – though authorities have pointed out that he doesn’t speak for the nation itself.

And in response to the Twitter outrage, many Qataris have been expressing their appreciation for Al Qaradawi:

Translation: He’s a living school himself. Generations studied under him (and benefited from his knowledge). May God extend his life. It is rare that scholars like him are repeated (and come our way). His is unrivaled knowledge. Those criticizing him are dwarfed by his status and knowledge.

Translation: Respect our minds (and don’t underestimate our intelligence). Al-Qaradawi has been living in Qatar for 50 years and thousands of Qataris studied under him. We never heard of a Qatari (suicide) bomber or one who carried out a terrorist attack.

Translation: If amongst those attacking the sheikh there was one good person, we could’ve at least listened. But all those criticizing him are corrupt.

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