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Egyptian cleric revered by Muslim Brotherhood dies at 96


DOHA, Qatar — Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric who was seen because the non secular chief of the Muslim Brotherhood and have become the Islamist “voice of revolution” throughout the widespread uprisings across the Arab world greater than a decade in the past, died Monday on the age of 96.

Al-Qaradawi, whose dying was reported on his official web site, was central in shaping the Brotherhood’s ideology within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s of utilizing democratic means to attain their aim of Islamic rule in Egypt and different nations. His critics accused him — and the Brotherhood — of hiding extremism behind average rhetoric.

That ideology was examined on the bottom within the Arab Spring revolts of 2011, when Egypt’s longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak was ousted — and ended disastrously.

The Brotherhood got here to energy in subsequent elections, the freest ever held in Egypt. However Brotherhood strikes fueled opponents’ fears that the group aimed to monopolize energy. After large protests, the military ousted the Brotherhood in 2013 and crushed it in a bloody crackdown. The following rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has been criticized by rights teams as extra autocratic than Mubarak’s.

Al-Qaradawi died within the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar, the place he had been residing in exile for many years and was supported by the ruling household. In 2013, he was tried and sentenced to dying in absentia in Egypt.

Al-Qaradawi’s excessive level got here in February 2011, days after Mubarak’s ouster. He made a triumphant return to Egypt and gave a speech to a huge crowd in Cairo’s Tahrir Sq., the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak protests.

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“The revolution will not be over till we’ve a brand new Egypt,” he mentioned, calling for a purging of Mubarak-era corruption and urging Copts and Muslims to stay united as they’d been throughout protests.

It was a speech that averted robust exhibits of Islamist or Brotherhood rhetoric. Nonetheless, many secular pro-democracy advocates noticed his look within the sq. as symbolizing Islamists’ strikes to dominate the rebellion and declare it in their very own identify.

Al-Qaradawi had been within the public eye because the Nineteen Nineties as a pioneer amongst Muslim clerics of utilizing then-newly rising satellite tv for pc TV to undertaking their voice regionwide.

He had a preferred speak present on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera community known as “Shariah and Life,” through which he took calls from throughout the Muslim world and supplied recommendation on every thing from mundane facets of day by day life to controversial political points. He offered himself as a world, impartial various to main Muslim clerics in Arab international locations who have been normally dominated by their governments — although critics accused him of being a software of Qatar.

He supported suicide bombings and different assaults by Palestinians in opposition to Israel. He additionally voiced help for the Iraqi insurgency in opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq after the 2003 invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

He had strongly criticized the U.S.-led invasion, calling on all Muslim nations on the time to arrange to battle the People there “if the Iraqis fail to drive them out.”

“By opening our ports, our airports and our land, we’re taking part within the battle,” al-Qaradawi mentioned in a pointed critique of U.S.-allied Arab governments. “We shall be cursed by historical past as a result of we’ve helped the People.” Notably, Qatar hosts American troops and now serves because the ahead headquarters of the U.S. army’s Central Command.

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However al-Qaradawi described his personal thought as “al-wasatiya,” which means a center path — conservative however not inflexible or extremist, as he depicted it. That earned him many admirers throughout the Arab and Islamic world, even amongst some liberals.

He was sharply important of Arab regimes however mentioned he opposed violence in overthrowing them, to tell apart himself from radical organizations like al-Qaida — although he was usually reluctant to outright condemn militant teams.

All through, he was near the Brotherhood.

Al-Qaradawi was born on Sept. 9, 1926 in a small village in Egypt’s Nile Delta. He studied at Egypt’s Al-Azhar College, the main middle of Sunni Muslim scholarship, and have become concerned with the Brotherhood.

He fled to Qatar within the early Sixties, when then-president Gamal Abdel Nasser waged a fierce crackdown on the group. A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2005 revealed by WikiLeaks mentioned Qatar, a powerful backer of the Brotherhood, gave al-Qaradawi “substantial properties” and revenue.

When the wave of “Arab Spring” protests started in late 2010 in Tunisia and intensified in 2011, al-Qaradawi threw his help behind them, criticizing clerics who known as for obedience to rulers.

He raised controversy by calling for the killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and by backing NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011 in help of rebels. Gadhafi was ultimately ousted and killed.

Al-Qaradawi additionally painted the civil battle in Syria in starkly sectarian phrases, regardless of his previous name for higher Sunni-Shiite relations. In a 2013 speech, he mentioned Shiites — Iran and Hezbollah backing President Bashar Assad — have been waging a “battle in opposition to Islam and the Sunnah.” He urged “all these able to Jihad and combating” to journey to Syria — seen as encouraging younger Muslims to affix militant teams in Syria.

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In Egypt, al-Qaradawi threw his weight absolutely behind the Brotherhood-led authorities, headed by a veteran of the group, Mohammed Morsi. He known as Morsi’s election “a victory for the revolution” and mentioned he would obtain “justice, freedom and human dignity.”

As opposition to Morsi and the Brotherhood swelled, he mentioned protests in opposition to them have been forbidden, insisting Morsi was the “reputable” ruler and that the individuals ought to obey him. Al-Qaradawi’s son, Abdel-Rahman, criticized his backing of Morsi.

The army’s ouster of the federal government was adopted by a crackdown through which a whole lot of Brotherhood members have been killed and hundreds arrested.

Egypt banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Ahmed Mussa, a distinguished pro-government TV host, known as al-Qaradawi “the most important inciter of terrorism” and blamed him for assaults inside Egypt. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates included al-Qaradawi on an inventory of dozens of organizations and people sanctioned for alleged terrorism in 2017 as a part of a diplomatic dispute with Qatar.

Krauss reported from Ottawa, Ontario; Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.



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