Friday, March 30, 2012

It appears France no longer views Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader Qaradawi as moderate

(JPost) For many years, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Yussuf Qaradawi, has attempted to pass himself off as a moderate Islamic authority.

The Qatar-based figure’s calls for dialogue with the Christian world and condemnation of al-Qaida violence allowed some in the West to turn a selective blind eye to Qaradawi’s open support for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and his ambitions for a European continent dominated by Islam in the future.

Today, however, the doors to Europe are being slammed shut in the 86-year-old’s face. In 2008, Qaradawi was banned from entering Britain despite having received a red carpet welcome four years earlier from London’s former mayor Ken Livingstone.

This week, in the aftermath of the horrific terror attacks on a Jewish school in Toulouse – in which Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, Arieh, five, and Gabriel, three; and Myriam Monsenego, eight, were killed – and the killing of three French soldiers by radicalized French citizen Mohamed Merah, French President Nicolas Sarkozy banned Qaradawi from arriving to take part in a conference organized by an umbrella Muslim group.

“There are certain people who have been invited to this congress who are not welcome on French soil,” Sarkozy said during a radio broadcast. Qaradawi was at the top of the no-entry list.

Sarkozy’s move was applauded by both of his rivals for the presidency, from the Socialist Party and the Front National.

“Qardawi is an important spiritual leader, maybe the most important, [hence] the message sent by Sarkozy is very important,” said Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. “A major, important European state makes the point that it does not see the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate movement. The French signal to the West [is] to slow down its attempt to launch a dialogue [with the Brotherhood].”

Inbar argued that dialogue is the “preferred liberal modus operandi” of Western liberals when it comes to dealing with the rising force in the Arab world, which is the Muslim Brotherhood.

The movement has seized power in Egypt and Tunis, and is poised to increase its standing across the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring. Its offshoot, Hamas, controls Gaza.

The new anti-Muslim Brotherhood message being sent out from Paris will also negatively affect Hamas’s attempts to gain legitimacy, Inbar added. “It shows strategic clarity on part of Sarkozy,” he said. [...]

“The problem with Qaradawi is that his concepts are based on a vision under which Europe will become Islamic. He declares this openly. It’s not the only thing he talks about, but this is one of his concepts, that European Muslims are on a mission to gradually convert the local population,” Webman said.