A message to our brothers in Palestine: I harbor the hope that just like Allah allowed me to witness the triumph of Egypt, He will allow me to witness the conquest of the Al-Aqsa Mosque…. Oh Allah, allow us to preach in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. [Crowds: Amen.] Allow us to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque safely. [Crowds: Amen] Allow us to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque without fear. [Crowds: Amen] Accomplish this complete victory for us. [Crowds: Amen] Oh, the sons of Palestine, rest assured that you will be victorious.
So MEMRI translates a passage from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s speech, marking his triumphal return to Egypt, in Tahrir Square a week ago Friday.
The words of the Muslim Brotherhood cleric—whose Sharia and Life program on Al Jazeera TV commands an audience of 40 million—are not without irony. At present—under Israeli rule—Muslims already have full access to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and it is Jews and Christians whose access to the mount is restricted.
But Qaradawi, of course, was calling for a different kind of access, one involving “conquest” and the obliteration of Israel. That his words inspired thunderous chants (see video) from a crowd of at least a million does not augur well for a democratic Egypt respecting the peace treaty with Israel.
And yet, as Andrew Bostom notes,
no mainstream media outlets have reported that Qaradawi himself issued a clarion call for the jihad re-conquest of Al-Aqsa mosque, i.e., Jerusalem…. [That] deliberate omission reflects a larger, sustained campaign by both the mainstream media [and its favored academics] to characterize as “pluralist, reform Islam” Qaradawi’s… jihadism, and its corollary—virulent Jew, and other infidel hatred.
Qaradawi, indeed, has a track record of Jew-hatred in particular, and the fact that under the Mubarak regime he was exiled to Qatar was one of the factors that—in Israel’s eyes at least—made that regime preferable to others in the region.
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. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers….
Not surprisingly for one who favors murder on an ultimate scale, Qaradawi, as the Anti-Defamation League notes, “has a long record of endorsing Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.” As he said during a 2007 conference in his honor in Doha, Qatar:
I support the Palestinian cause. I support the resistance and the jihad. I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. I oppose the peace that Israel and America wish to dictate. This peace is an illusion. I support martyrdom operations.
And in another 2009 sermon, Qaradawi—now 84—offered his personal services for the cause, expressing his readiness to “go to the land of Jihad and resistance” and asserting: “I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus I will seal my life with martyrdom.”
It would nice to write off Qaradawi as a crank or “extremist,” but his huge prominence, and the size of his reception upon returning to Egypt, suggest otherwise. As Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution observes:
Qaradawi is very much in the mainstream of Egyptian society, he’s in the religious mainstream, he’s not offering something that’s particularly distinctive or radical in the context of Egypt. He’s an Islamist and he’s part of the Brotherhood school of thought, but his appeal goes beyond the Islamist spectrum, and in that sense he’s not just an Islamist figure, he’s an Egyptian figure with a national profile.
It may indeed be too early to say which way the Egyptian “revolution” will turn. The military regime may find a way to stay in power, or to keep the real force it has to contend with—the Muslim Brotherhood—out of power. But the popularity of the sort of sentiments expressed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi keeps Israelis—in any case—from joining the “democracy” celebration.