DOHA: Noted Doha-based Islamic scholar Dr Yousuf Al Qaradawi, a known supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, said he had no relations with the organisation and he differed with it on many issues.
“My relations (with the Brotherhood) ended 20 years ago and I am now working for the whole Muslim world,” said Al Qaradawi, in an interview with Al Watan daily, when asked if he had any ties with Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing.
Asked about his statements supporting the Brotherhood, Al Qaradawi said: “I am free in my feelings and I don’t deny that I was raised under the Brotherhood for about 70 years. But now I am independent.”
“I would differ with them in a number of issues. In the first round of the presidential elections in Egypt I supported Abdul Monem Abu Al Futooh (a former Brotherhood member) although the Brotherhood was against him. I supported Mohammed Mursi in the second round because Ahmed Shafik was his opponent, who represented a continuation of the Mubarak rule,” he added.
Asked about his son Abdul Rahman who differed with Al Qardawi on his Fatwa regarding the military takeover in Egypt, the scholar said: “In Islam we raise our kids with freedom and we don’t want them to be photocopies of their parents. Abdul Rahman is a poet and writer and he has a role in political life. He respects his father but he can differ with him. Of course he opposed my Fatwa but later he realised that it was a wrong stance and now he is against the military coup.”
Asked why did he always talk against stability and reconciliation in Egypt, Al Qaradawi said: “This is not my stand, nor the stand of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian people voted for the Brotherhood and gave them a majority in the first elected parliament in the country. They also elected the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in the presidential elections. The constitution was approved in 2012 by almost two-third of the Egyptian people.”
“The Brotherhood didn’t put themselves above the people but there are others who don’t like democracy and freedom and who had been ruling the country for over 60 years,” he added.
A strong critic of the military takeover in Egypt, Al Qardawi was asked how could he support the Sudanese government that came to power through a military coup.
“I refused to visit Sudan and I asked the (Sudanese) government many times to conduct free elections and not wait until people revolt,” replied the scholar.
“I condemned the way the security forces (in Sudan) treated the demonstrators recently… I don’t accept rule without free elections. This is my principle,” he added.
Al Qaradawi said reports that 30 million people protested against Mursi’s rule were a lie.
“Mursi stayed in power only for one year and from the very first month since he took office they (his opponents) didn’t allow him to do his job properly,” he said.
“Reports that 30 million people demonstrated against Mursi were a lie because 30 million means the whole Egyptian population with the exception of children and the aged,” Al Qaradawi said in reply to another question.
On the new constitution referendum in Egypt slated for mid-January, Al Qaradawi said, “This is a meaningless referendum because the Egyptians had approved a new constitution in 2012 in a free referendum.
“It was prepared by an elected committee from parliament comprising experts representing different segments of society and religions.
“What these people want is to remove the articles that talk about Shariah.”
He said General Abdal Fattah Al Sisi, Egyptian Defence Minister, was not the right person to become the next president of Egypt.