"We just met Sheikh Qaradawi in downtown in his car and saluted him."
Initially, I had assumed that Mr. Ghonim was referring to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric [who, until recently, was] based in Qatar, who is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and who openly condoned the targeting of American forces and civilians in Iraq. Qaradawi has been banned from entering the U.S. since 1999 for his extremist views. In February 2008, he was denied a visa to enter Britain.
Based on the aforementioned assumption, I noted, in a February 9 post, that Mr. Ghonim's apparent admiration for Yusuf al-Qaradawi raises the question as to where Mr. Ghonim's 'real sentiments lie. Is he truly a voice of moderation? Or, is the Google executive/Egyptian activist, deep down in his heart - a radical who shares al-Qaradawi's extremist ideologies?'
However, after perusing the internet a bit, I surmised [either correctly or incorrectly] that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi - who has resided in Qatar since being booted out of Egypt many years ago - had been in Qatar, and not in Egypt, on the very day that Ghonim had said he had "just met Sheikh Qaradawi in downtown in his car and saluted him." Hence, I reached the [perhaps faulty] conclusion that the Sheikh Qaradawi he had saluted in Egypt was not the radical Yusuf al-Qaradawi, but someone else. Consequently, I duly deleted the aforementioned post.
However, whether or not Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi was actually in Egypt on January 25, and, whether he is the same Sheikh that Mr. Ghonim had saluted, is now of little import, because, according to media reports, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi was clearly in Egypt this past Friday, where he delivered a sermon in Tahrir Square - and, Mr. Ghonim, in a twitter post on Friday, praised the aforementioned sermon. "I loved Sheikh Qaradawi['s] Khutbah [sermon] today", he twittered.
Hence, in light of Ghonim's outward show of affection toward the radical, jihadist-preaching cleric, I've decided to re-post the relevant sections of my February 9 post:
In 2004, Arab media sources quoted Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as saying that the abduction and killing of American soldiers and civilians in Iraq is a religious obligation. The aforementioned statement was confirmed by the director of Al-Qaradhawi's office, who affirmed that Mr. Qaradawi had issued a Fatwa saying that there is an obligation to fight against American civilians in Iraq.Whether or not Ghonim saluted Yusuf al-Qaradawi is still unclear, but he did indeed praise the radical, Jihadist cleric this past Friday, saying, "I loved Sheikh Qaradawi Khutbah [sermon] today".
While a number of clerics at Al-Azhar University expressed support for Mr. Qaradawi's fatwa, the aforementioned fatwa elicited sharp responses from various Muslim journalists.
"Finally Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi has removed the veil from his true face," an Arab journalist opined, "the same face as that of all of the masked terrorists, and declared himself to be a religious authority and propagandist for the terrorists, without shame and without hesitation. This comes after a long period in which he tried to fool us, attempting to be considered moderate and religiously tolerant.
"Al-Qaradhawi issued a Fatwa calling to abduct American civilians and to murder them in cold blood... We, as Iraqis, were not surprised by the Fatwa of the propagandist of terrorism, for he is the religious guide for the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera, which the Iraqis rightly call 'the satellite channel of the masked [terrorists]', and which makes great efforts day and night to encourage terrorism in Iraq.
"A question for the bloodthirsty, terror-mongering cleric Al-Qaradhawi and his supporters among the sheikhs of Al-Azhar [University]: Who gave you permission to force yourselves as custodians on the Iraqi people? Through the fact that bloodthirsty clerics publish terrorist Fatwas, and through their support for terrorists, they have turned Islamic thought into an ideology of terror..."
Another Arab columnist wrote: "It is possible that the Fatwa of the 'Sheikh' and the 'Imam of the [so-called] moderates,' Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, which permitted and even commanded the abduction and killing of American civilians in Iraq … will clear up the confusion … which we, the progressive intellectuals, have concerning 'moderation' and 'extremism' among the streams of political Islam, in all its various forms and gradations. It is possible that this Fatwa, issued by the 'Sheikh of moderation and compromise' comes to put to rest the debate among the progressives over the question as to whether … there exists some 'moderation' in the thought and discourse of some of the streams of political Islam, or whether this 'moderation' is merely something superficial, forced by specific conditions, or in modern terminology - it is merely a tactic...
"The Fatwa of Al-Qaradhawi, who carries the title of 'Sheikh and Imam of the moderates,' led to the near-complete collapse of moderation and destroyed the very foundations of the 'way of compromise.'... Sheikh Qaradhawi's Fatwa … causes us, the progressive intellectuals, to reassess the concept of the 'moderation' or 'extremism' of the prominent Islamic groups on the Arab scene..."
Another Arab columnist opined: "What kind of national cause is this that uses children like kerosene for igniting a total war of destruction in the name of national and religious liberty…? The Islamic-Arab terrorism has turned into the greatest danger in the world, and threatens civilization...Islamic terrorism is the outcome of 'moderate' political Islam, as it is generally described. The latest proof of this is Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi's Fatwa calling for the killing of all Americans in Iraq."
One Arab author raised the following question: "Is it [Qaradawi's fatwa] because the Americans are the reason why Al-Qaradhawi lost three million dollars that were in his 'Al-Taqwa' bank account, which belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood and which was the main financier of the Al-Qa'ida organization, and which was shut down, and its assets and deposits confiscated, due to the U.S.'s efforts to trace [the activities] of this shady bank...?
"The vacuum in Arab political discourse..., the absence of a politically conscious Arab grassroots, the absence of an active public opinion capable of bringing about change … allowed those who wear turbans to take to the political stumps... and to lead the Arab political activity which has turned into an expression of the call for more and more bloodshed in the name of the new religion which Al-Qaradhawi brought, together with the rest of the religious fundamentalist terror groups. This is the clear proof that we have become a politically bankrupt nation. We inherited this from our fathers and we are bequeathing it to our children…"
And yet, despite of all the above, Wael Ghonim stated in his twitter post: "We just met Sheikh Qaradawi in downtown in his car and saluted him."
Mr. Ghonim's salute to the so-called moderate Sheik, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is perhaps indicative of where this Egyptian revolution is really headed. Ghonim's honorary gesture only compounds the anxieties of those who've expressed concern that the current uprising is, in essence, a precursor to a future fundamentalist and extremist government in Egypt.
And, while the demonstrators in Egypt accuse Americans of being opposed to their freedom for simply raising concerns about the direction and the eventual outcome of the current uprising, they themselves are marching hand in hand with the likes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who've condoned the murder of American citizens. Ironic, indeed: The protesters are infuriated at Americans because of their reluctance to support a movement which is comprised, in part, by Jihadists who wish death upon the U.S.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ghonim, it seems, holds Yusuf al-Qaradawi in high esteem and believes he is worthy of an honorary salute. But what about Ghonim's employers at Google? Would they, too, salute Mr. Qaradawi - if he crossed their path?
Only they can answer that question.
Google, on its main twitter account, recently sent out a tweet to Mr. Ghonim saying: “We’re incredibly proud of you, @Ghonim, & of course will welcome you back when you’re ready.”
Permit me to add my own two cents by saying that, 'I am extremely proud of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi; I love his [Khutbahs] sermons and I wish him the very best on - what I assume is - his permanent return to Egypt.'
Welcome home Sheikh Qaradawi, and keep up the good [jihadist-preaching] work!