Interpol removes red notice against Islamic scholar Yusuf Al Qaradawi

  • 13 Dec 2018

Accused of various crimes by Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el Sisi, Interpol's clean chit to the scholar comes as a setback to the Saudi-led bloc in the Middle East.

Yusuf al Qaradawi is an Egyptian Sunni Muslim scholar and preacher known for using television and the internet to spread his message. ( AP Archive )

The Egyptian Muslim scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi has been removed from the Interpol list after more than three years.

The head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars has been sentenced to death in absentia by an Egyptian court, together with the former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi and 100 other people affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Al Qaradawi could avoid imprisonment only by moving to Qatar.

He was on the Interpol's wanted list because the Egyptian judicial authorities had accused him of committing "intentional murder, helping prisoners to escape, arson, vandalism and theft.”

As a demand by Egypt, Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest in May 2015 - two years after the military coup d’etat took place, initiated by back-then Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el Sisi. 

"Saudi Arabia and the UAE are at the vanguard of the anti-revolutionary movement and it is they who sponsored and supported the coup against Egypt's only democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi," says the award-winning Middle East specialist Tallha Abdulrazaq.

Al Qaradawi is a well-known critic of Sisi. Since the coup, Interpol has issued arrest warrants for several members of the Muslim Brotherhood - at the request of the Sisi regime.

His criticism of the present Egyptian president, has added to a rift between Qatar and other Gulf Arab states.

Speaking to TRT World Mr Abdulrazaq explains Saudi Arabia's setback as follow: 

"I believe it's a setback albeit an inevitable one. Qaradawi is a Qatari citizen and there is no evidence to suggest he is an extremist or terrorist. Try as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi might, there is very little they can do to smear Qaradawi's name, and it is close to impossible for them to take him out of play. He will therefore always pose a threat to them."

The Saudi government says it backs and funds the Sisi regime because the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organisation. Egypt is going through a fiscal crisis and has borrowed $12 billion from the IMF in 2016. 

The Gulf Crisis

The Qatari Diplomatic Crisis in 2017 began with the claim by Saudi Arabia’s that Doha supports terrorists. From June 2017 onward, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and several other countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, and imposed an economic blockade on this tiny, gas-rich country. Qatar airplanes and ships were prohibited from entering their airspace and sea routes.

Saudi Arabia even blocked the only land crossing to Qatar, pushing Doha to seek access to the Iranian airspace so as to import and export goods, among other basic supplies.

To remove the blockade, Saudi Arabia demanded that Doha has to cut relations with Iran, end military cooperation with Turkey and shut down its national television Al Jazeera.

"As one of the most influential Islamic scholars alive today, Qaradawi's opposition to these anti-revolutionary forces makes him a dangerous threat to the likes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE who would like nothing more than to silence him, hence the bogus Interpol arrest warrant", adds the Middle East specialist.

The case of Ola Qaradawi and her husband

As of yesterday, December 12, 46 members of the US Congress published a letter sent to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the detention of US citizens in Egypt without a rightful legal basis.

One of those who are detained are Ola Qaradawi and her husband Hosam Khalaf.

Both remain in prison cells with awful conditions, e.g. cells without windows, for more than 500 days. Many argue that the reason for their detention is due to the fact that Ola is the daughter of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.