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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gulf Officials Blast MB 'Godfather' Al-Qaradawi: He Is The 'Mufti Of Suicide Attacks,'

Gulf Officials Blast MB 'Godfather' Al-Qaradawi: He Is The 'Mufti Of Suicide Attacks,' (Memri).

In recent weeks, officials in the Gulf have lashed out at Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) and a prominent spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), for fatwas he issued in the past permitting suicide operations. The accusations came on the wake of the July 4, 2016 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia.

The first to voice the accusations was UAE Foreign Minister 'Abdallah bin Zayed, who, in two tweets, blamed Al-Qaradawi for suicide attacks and called to hold him to account for his role in encouraging them. Responding to this on his own Twitter account, Al-Qaradawi called bin Zayed a "devil" but refrained from addressing the accusations themselves. It should be noted that after Twitter twice removed Al-Qaradawi's response he reposted it on his Facebook page. [1]

Bin Zayed's comments were echoed by two other Gulf officials: Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Aal Khalifa and UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammed Gargash. Several articles in the Gulf press joined the attack on Al-Qaradawi, calling him "the Mufti of Suicide" and "the Sheikh of Fitna," and some Egyptian papers known from their anti-MB position also published articles against him.

The accusations against Al-Qaradawi sparked a heated debate on social media. As evidence for their validity, users pointed to a video from 2012 in which the sheikh justified suicide operations in Syria. Asked whether it was permissible to carry out a martyrdom operation against regime loyalists even if civilians may be harmed as a result, Al-Qaradawi said that this was allowed as long as the group (that carried out the attack) deemed it necessary.[2]

This is not the first time that various Arab media, especially those opposing the MB, have blamed this movement – and Al-Qaradawi as one of its prominent ideologues – for ISIS's violence in the Arab world.[3] In fact, Egypt and some other Arab countries have designated the MB a terrorist organization. 

However, this is the first time official Gulf elements have fingered Al-Qaradawi as responsible for ISIS's terrorism and for suicide operations. This may stem from their desire to rebuff Western claims that the source of Sunni extremism is the Wahhabi stream, dominant in Saudi Arabia, and shift the blame to the MB, which is regarded by many in the West as a more moderate Islamic movement.

It should be noted that even prior to 2012 Al-Qaradawi sanctioned suicide operations, especially in Palestine. In 2001 he responded to a fatwa by then-Saudi mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin 'Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh that forbade suicide operations even against an army occupying Muslim land. Al-Qaradawi stated in reply to this fatwa that operations by Muslim suicide bombers were a legitimate form of resistance, "heroic acts of martyrdom and sacrifice," and one of the noblest kinds of jihad for the sake of Allah.

He clarified: "These operations are the furthest [thing] from suicide and the ones who carry them out are not suicides by any measure. A suicide is someone who kills himself for selfish reasons, while one who sacrifices himself [a fida'i] does this for the sake of his religion and ummah. [He] fights the enemies of Allah using a new weapon that God has placed in the hands of the oppressed as a means of resisting the tyranny of the strong and the haughty."[4] 

As stated, in 2012 Al-Qaradawi permitted suicide operations in Syria provided that "the group [carrying out the attack]" deems it necessary, without explaining exactly what this means. In 2015, after he was accused of sanctioning suicide operations in Egypt following the ouster of president Muhammad Mursi, Al-Qaradawi's office issued a statement meant to clarify his stance on this issue.

It said that, in his book Fiqh Al-Jihad from 2009 the sheikh had clearly stated that he permitted suicide operations only in Palestine and nowhere else. The statement clarified further that, now that the Palestinians had obtained sophisticated weapons, suicide operations were no longer valid even in Palestine.[5] 

However, Al-Qaradawi's fatwas sanctioning suicide operations are still interpreted in some Muslim circles as a blanket permission for attacks of this kind. It should also be stressed that these fatwas still appear on his website.

This report will review the recent accusations against Al-Qaradawi.

Gulf Officials: The MB, Headed By Al-Qaradawi, Are To Blame For Suicide Attacks
On July 4, 2016, several hours after the series of attacks in Saudi Arabia, UAE Foreign Minister 'Abdallah bin Zayed tweeted: "We should hold to account those who incited and permitted to kill people and [to perpetrate] the suicide attacks." In a later tweet he explicitly pointed the finger at Al-Qaradawi: "Do you remember that [the former Saudi mufti], the honorable sheikh ['Abd Al-'Aziz] bin Bazz, forbade suicide attacks? Do you remember that the MB's mufti, [Yousuf] Al-Qaradawi, permitted them?"[6]

Other gulf officials supported bin Zayed's position. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Gargash, tweeted: "Those who justified suicide attacks and issued fatwas [permitting them] are responsible for the current situation. Thousands of innocent people have died because of [their craving] for influence and power which is disguised as religion." He added: "These people must take responsibility for the chaos and violence that they helped to ignite... The MB's historical affinity for violence and bloodshed is documented and known..."[8]

Two days later, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Aal Khalifa likewise responded to Al-Qaradawi's reply and supported his UAE counterpart, tweeting: "The devils who were unchained are those who tried to destroy the heart of the [Muslim] ummah and its strongest fortress. Now they are blaming the righteous leaders for their own faults."

Articles In Gulf Press: Al-Qaradawi And His Ilk Prefer To Sacrifice Other People's Sons On The Altar Of Their Bloody Struggles; 'The Suicide Belts [Al-Qaradawi Permitted In His] Fatwas Have Come Back To Harm The Muslims Themselves' Read the full story here

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