DOHA: The prominent Qatari-based scholar Yousuf Al Qaradawi called on Saudi Arabia to stop backing Egypt’s military-dominated authorities, accusing them of using Saudi money to kill Egyptians protesting at the overthrow in July of an elected Islamist president.
Most US-aligned Gulf Arab monarchies, rattled by the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, were relieved when the Egyptian military stepped in to topple president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule.
But Yousuf Al Qaradawi said the strong backing that Saudi Arabia had provided military-backed Egyptian authorities which had crushed Islamist opposition since Mursi’s removal was wrong and should be withdrawn.
“It’s surprising that the Saudi government gave billions of dollars to support the (anti-Mursi) coup and the coup leaders and those who are far from God and Islam,” Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni Muslim clerics in the Middle East, said in an interview conducted by email. “The only thing that links them to their neighbouring countries is the language of interests and benefits,” said Qaradawi, who heads the International Association of Muslim Scholars, a grouping close to the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi said the Egyptian military, led by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al Sisi who is now expected to run in Egypt’s pending presidental election and win it, was using Saudi funds to “kill innocent Egyptians” instead of helping the poor.
“I call upon the people of Saudi Arabia and on the Saudi regime to stand with the Egyptian people against the murders and executioners, to stand with the right against wrong, to stand with the slain against the killer, to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors,” he said.
“These rulers hate Saudi Arabia and its ruling regime. They do not believe in Shariah,” he added. Most Brotherhood leaders including Mursi have also been arrested and the group has been designated a terrorist organisation, although it formally renounced violence four decades ago. Asked about who he thinks was behind the wave of bombings that targeted security compounds in Cairo on the third anniversary last Friday of Mubarak’s downfall, Qaradawi said the Muslim Brotherhood was distant from such practices and suggested that Egyptian intelligence services might have provoked the attacks to stoke popular anger against Islamists. Reuters