During the past month, Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual guide to the Muslim Brotherhood, has called on Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons â€œto terrorize their enemies.â€ He also boycotted an interfaith meeting with Jews on grounds he believes they support murdering Muslims in Palestine, and he additionally said Muslims are permitted to kill Israeli women because they serve in the army.
This continues Qaradawi’s long-established support of violent jihad. But despite this record, he has been embraced as a "moderate" Muslim by his defenders in the West and the Arab world. In a September interview, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone said "the fact that Sheikh Qaradawi has been banned [from Britain] is a disgrace; he is one of the leading progressive voices in the Muslim world." Livingstone blamed "a huge smear campaign organized by Zionists."
In America, John Esposito, a religious scholar who is close to the Brotherhood, has called Qaradawi a supporter of a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights." The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and prominent Islamists like Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, have expressed similar sentiments about Qaradawi.
Barrie Osborne, producer of Hollywood blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, has hired Qaradawi as a consultant for a movie about the Prophet Mohammed. Last month, Qaradawi was given a medal for public service by King Abdullah of Jordan.
Qaradawi has won these awards despite a long record of anti-Semitism and advocating violence against purported enemies of islam. Consider the following examples:
In an interview last month with Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-language service, Qaradawi was asked if Muslims should try to get atomic weapons "to terrorize their enemies." Qaradawi replied that this goal would be permissible, saying he was "happy" to learn that Pakistan had such a nuclear weapon to defend itself. Qaradawi explained that that was the meaning of Koranic verses urging Muslims "to terrorize thereby the enemy of God and your enemy."
Support for Iran and Muslim rights to possess nuclear technology have been recurring themes for Qaradawi.
"It is obligatory on all Muslims to resist any possible attack the US might launch against Iran," Qaradawi said in a 2007 interview. "The U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support."
It was wrong to deny Iran the right to ostensibly peaceful nuclear technology so long as the United States and Israel had nuclear weapons, he said.