JEDDAH: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the extremist Muslim cleric exposed by Arab News as a “Preacher of Hate,” died on Monday at the age of 96.
Born in Egypt, Al-Qaradawi was the spiritual leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which he joined as a young man, and found notoriety through a series of incendiary sermons broadcast on TV.
In 2019, he was an early subject of “Preachers of Hate,” a weekly series in print and online in which Arab News profiled, contextualized and analyzed extremist preachers from all religions, backgrounds and nationalities.
The profile of Al-Qaradawi explained how he justified suicide bombings, especially in Palestine, repeatedly spoke out against Jews as a community, and issued fatwas that demeaned women.
In a fatwa on his website, he described martyrdom as a higher form of jihad, and in a 2005 TV interview he praised suicide bombings in Israeli-occupied Palestine as martyrdom in the name of God. “I supported martyrdom operations, and I am not the only one,” he said.
Al-Qaradawi also issued fatwas authorizing attacks on all Jews. “Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none,” he said.
Al-Qaradawi lambasted Muslim countries as weak, and called on citizens to overthrow their governments and launch a war against all who opposed the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Qaradawi was an Islamic supremacist, with disdain for Europe and its culture. In a TV lecture in 2007 he said: “I think that Islam will conquer Europe without resorting to the sword or fighting. Europe is miserable with materialism, with the philosophy of promiscuity and with the immoral considerations that rule the world — considerations of self-interest and self-indulgence.
“It’s high time Europe woke up and found a way out from this, and it won’t find a lifesaver or a lifeboat other than Islam.”
Al-Qaradawi was accused of sowing discord among Gulf Arab states, and he devoted particular bile to the land of his birth, Egypt, and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. An Egyptian court sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015, alongside other Brotherhood leaders.