Al-Qaradawi returns to Cairo
He has been banned from Egypt since 1961, but found refuge in the UK and was welcomed with open arms by Ken Livingstone.
The Sheikh’s message to his adoring faithful was foreboding: “Don't fight history,” he exhorted. “You can't delay the day when it starts.”
And he means a little more by ‘it’ than the revolutionary movement for democracy which has toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, and now threatens those of Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria. Indeed, he doesn’t hope for democracy at all, except as a means to sharia. For those who have ears, ‘it’ is a hope that the revolutionary spirit is more contiguous with the 1979 Shi’a triumph in Iran. “The Arab world has changed,” he proclaimed. This is the Sunni moment.
While al-Qaradawi was a guest in the UK, he founded the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), of which he is still president. Its aim is world conquest and ‘the manifestation of Allah's infinite mercy, knowledge and wisdom’.
“What remains, then, is to conquer Rome,” he strategised in 1995. “The second part of the omen. ‘The city of Hiraq (Constantinople) will be conquered first’, so what remains is to conquer Rome. This means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it twice… Conquest through Da'wa (proselytising), that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da'wa.”
Understandably, this has been greeted with a little alarm in Israel. Mindful of 1979 Iran, The Jerusalem Post observes: ‘Egypt gets its Khomeni’:
There is no doubt. Qaradawi, not bin Laden, is the most dangerous revolutionary Islamist in the world, and he is about to unleash the full force of his persuasion on Egypt.Taking Egypt out of the hands of President Mubarak and putting it under the motherly gaze of the military has permitted the Islamist forces to return. All the West (and Israel) can do is stand by passively as a pro-Islamist chairman presides over the committee to write the new constitution.
Cairo has found its charismatic cleric; the long-prophesied saviour has returned to his homeland to lead Egypt to the Promised Land flowing with the blood of Jews and the persecution of non-believers. Only the Muslim Brotherhood practise ‘true’ Islam. Only they understand the final revelation of Allah to Mohammed, and it does not involve peace treaties with Israel or two-state solutions. The theo-political line is clear: ‘anti-American, anti-Western, wipe Israel off the map, foment jihad, stone homosexuals....in short, the works’.
Sheikh al-Qaradawi has seen how democracy has won for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and he has every reason to believe that it will do the same for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
He contends that the three major threats Muslims face are Zionism, internal integration and globalisation. To survive, he argues, Muslims must fight the Zionists, Crusaders, idolators and Communists.
The Jerusalem Post concludes: ‘Make no mistake, Qaradawi is not some fossilized Islamic ideologue. He is brilliant and innovative, tactically flexible and strategically sophisticated. He is subtle enough to sell himself as a moderate to those who don’t understand the implications of his words or able to look beneath the surface of his presentation.’
Well, he fooled Ken Livingstone.