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Fact Sheets: Egyptian Presidential Elections - Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi

(Updated June 2012)

Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic theologian best known for his TV program "Shariah and Life" broadcast through Al-Jazeera to an approximate 40 million people worldwide. Qaradawi has written and published more than 100 books and, in 1997, founded the popular website "Islam Online" for which he now serves as chief religious scholar. In late February 2011, after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, Sheik Qaradawi spoke to cheering crowds in Tahrir square as part of his first public appearance in Egypt in more than 50 years. He had been banned from the country, and put on its most wanted list, as a result of his affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qaradawi is widely viewed as one source of intellectual inspiration for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and although he has twice turned down the opportunity to lead the group, he maintains strong ties with its rank and file. A 2008 Foreign Policy magazine poll put Qaradawi third on its worldwide list of public intellectuals. Qaradawi was one of the first influential Islamic clerics to denounce the attacks of September 11th and has also been an outspoken critic of Al-Qaeda; however, he publicly supports attacking US troops in Iraq and Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombings in Israel. He famously regards all of Israel as Muslim territory, strongly opposes the State of Israel and even derides the Palestinian Authority (he once called for the stoning of PA President Mahmoud Abbas).

Sheik Qaradawi has been a overt source of Muslim fatwas, or religious edicts, over the past few decades. He has issued fatwa's in support of suicide bombings against Jews, attacks against US soldiers in the Middle East, conquest of Europe "by the sword" and Jihad agsainst the West. His status as one of the Islamic worlds leading Sunni clerics gives added importance, leverage and legitimacy to his fatwas across Egypt and the region.

On Muslim Obligation for Jihad

It [is] obligatory upon every Muslim wherever he is to defend Jerusalem, and al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an obligation upon all Muslims to participate in defending Jerusalem with their souls, money, and all that they possess, otherwise a punishment from Allah shall descend on the whole nation. ” –The Atlantic, February 2011

Lebanon and Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are all neighbors of Israel, and whoever wanted to set out [on Jihad] from these countries could have done so … But it is as if we have become the protectors of Israel. ” –Al-Jazeera, January 2009

A message to our brothers in Palestine: I harbor the hope that Allah…will allow me to witness the conquest of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” –Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011

On Suicide Terrorism

These martyr operations led by the Palestinian fighters against Israel spring from resistance and all Muslims who kill to defend their land, honor and religion are martyrs. ” –Agence France-Presse, June 2001

[Suicide bombings] are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out … are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors. ” – Los Angeles Times, May 2001

On Israel

The conquerors [of Palestine] are those with the greatest enmity toward the believers, and they are supported by the strongest state on earth - the USA, and by the world Jewish community. ” –The Atlantic, February 2011

The least the Muslim can do is to boycott the enemies' goods. ” –The Atlantic, February 2011

The Jews' claims to Al-Buraq Wall [Western Wall] dates back only to recent times ... those who claim that [the Jews] have a long history in Israel are liar. ” –Islam Online, 2004

On Muslim and Islamic view towards Jews

Receiving enemies in our own countries and visiting them in the occupied lands would remove such a psychological barrier that keeps us away from them, and would bridge the gap that keeps the desire for Jihad against them kindled in the hearts of the Ummah. ” –The Atlantic, February 2011

We believe that the battle between us and the Jews is coming ... Such a battle is not driven by nationalistic causes; it is rather driven by religious incentives. This battle … is between Muslims and Jews… This battle will occur between the collective body of Muslims and the collective body of Jews. ” –The Atlantic, February 2011

Allah lies in wait for [Jews], and He will not forsake [Islam]. He will not allow [Jews] to continue to spread corruption in the land. We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and, Allah willing, it will be by our own hands…This is my message to the treacherous Jews, who have never adhered to what is right. ” – Al-Jazeera, January 2009

Oh Allah, take your enemies, the enemies of Islam. Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. Oh Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people. Oh Allah, they have spread much tyranny and corruption in the land. Pour Your wrath upon them. ” –Al-Jazeera, January 2009

On Libyan Leader Moammar Al-Gaddafi

[Gaddafi] is no longer reasonable; he has been crazy for a long time…Even the Jews did not do such things [as wantonly killing Arabs]. ” –Al-Jazeera, February 2011

I order a fatwa to the officers and soldiers who can kill Muammar Al-Gadhafi: Whoever among them can fire a bullet at him … should do it. ” –Al-Jazeera, February 2011

On The Holocaust

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. ”Al-Jazeera, January 2009

On The United States and the "West"

My message to the West, which collaborates with Zionism, and especially to America, which acts like a god on Earth… Nobody holds [America] accountable for the things it says, because it is like a god in this world. … We say to the West, and especially to America, that Allah will not let you support falsehood. He will not let you support inequity against justice. ” –Al-Jazeera, January 2009

All of the Americans in Iraq are combatants…one should fight them, since the American civilians came to Iraq in order to serve the occupation…the killing of Americans in Iraq is a [religious] obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately. ” – Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, September 2004

On Arab Rulers in the Middle East

This is my message to our rulers: They should heed their peoples when they make their decisions, or else history will sweep them up with its broom. These rulers are desperate, powerless, and incapable of doing anything.” – Al-Jazeera, January 2009

Many of the existing governments now do not have any popular support; they are governments that are hated by their peoples, and they govern their countries by brute force, and martial and emergency laws rather than governing through the consensus of the people.” –Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, December 2010

On Starbucks

We have a Starbucks. They used to hang a sign on the doors of their shops: 'We benefit our most important partner, which is Israel, we help in the education of students in Israel and we help build up the Israeli defense arsenal,' and so on…this Starbucks is Zionist.” –Al-Jazeera, January 2009

On The Egyptian Army

I salute the Egyptian army…It is inconceivable that the Egyptian army, which waged 4 wars for the sake of Egypt and Palestine, would betray its country or sacrifice its people for the sake of a single person.” ––Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011

Rest assured that you will be victorious… the Rafah border crossing will be opened … this is what I demand from the Egyptian army.”–Egyptian Channel 1, February 2011

On September 11th

I was the first who condemned the crimes of Sept. 11, even before it was clear to many that al-Qaida was behind the attacks. There is certainly a difference if violence is used in a blind terrorist act or if it is used in rebellion against a foreign occupying force.” – Der Spiegel, September 2005

It is clear that it is a crime to transform airplanes full of people into rockets and use them to destroy buildings.” – Der Spiegel, September 2005

On Salmon Rushdie

Rushdie disgraced the honor of the Prophet and his family and defiled the values of Islam.” – Der Spiegel, September 2005

On Homosexuality

There was a demonstration against me in London because I spoke out against homosexuality. People seem to have forgotten that it wasn't me who came up with this [anti-homosexual] mindset. It's part of God's order spoken of by Moses and even mentioned by Jesus.” – Der Spiegel, September 2005

On Domestic Abuse

The man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife … If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife … it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands. The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, 1997 (book)

On The Muslim Brotherhood

The [Muslim Brotherhood] have tried [Jihad], but [jihad] has not been helpful, and we have not gained anything out of [jihad] other than detention, suffering, and victimization.” – Der Spiegel, September 2005

On His Personal Dream

I am one of the soldiers of Islam. I am a soldier of God Almighty fighting with knowledge, work, and call for God. I wish to conclude my life by martyrdom for the sake of God …. I wish that God concludes my life with martyrdom, and that my martyrdom be at the hand of a non-Muslim.” – Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, December 2010