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Qaradawi's Luke Warm Statement on Violent Jihad Consistent with Muslim Brotherhood Position
In a recent appearance al Jazeera, Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yousef al-Qaradawi took an interesting, but not unusual line on violent jihad-it is not wrong, but it is ineffective.

In the midst of a discourse on the Caliphate, the need to rotate leaders out of power (and why the Muslim Brotherhood does not, by his own admission, despite the preference of four to six year terms for the leader), al-Qaradawi turns his attention to violent jihad and armed revolution, which I put here as a lengthy excerpt, so that the full context is available. Each can choose their interpretation.

Al-Qaradawi says that "all the rules and laws of Islam contain all that is in favour of people in this life and the hereafter." He adds: "The Islamic shari'ah serves the interests of mankind in their life and religion." He says: "Among these are the political interests. What God decreed in the political field in terms of laws is aimed at establishing the truth and justice, safeguarding dignity, and taking care of people's rights. This is why it was very strict on the issue of revolting against the ruler. By revolting here I mean armed revolt. This is because this will pave the way for sedition and indiscipline. As a result, perhaps blood might be shed, people might be killed, and houses and property might be destroyed."

Al-Qaradawi adds: "The issue is not that if anyone becomes angry at a ruler he then should brandish his sword and revolt against him. No. It is true that Islam does not accept the culture of submissiveness and humiliation by the rulers, but it is also does not accept that if anyone becomes angry at another one he then should carry out an armed revolution, especially since this will lead to instability and pave the way for interference by others and foreigners in the country's affairs." Al-Qaradawi then gives examples of revolts against rulers from the Islamic history.

Al-Qaradawi says: "In our age, we have seen the violence used by the Islamic groups which hold all modern rulers to be infidels and therefore they should be fought. To achieve their objectives, these groups resorted to violence and used weapons to shed blood and to confront these rulers, such as the Jihad Group in Egypt, Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group], the Salafi Jihadist Movement, Al-Qa'idah, and the like. However, have they achieved what they wanted? They have not achieved anything.

It is interesting that armed revolt is not accepted primarily because it will lead to instability and pave the way for foreign intervention. However, as al-Qaradawi himself has made amply clear in blessing suicide bombings as "martyrdom" operations, if there interference in an area, then violent jihad is accepted.

There is no indication that armed revolt against corrupt leadership would be considered morally wrong. Only that, at this point, it is ineffective.

This is, to me, the fundamental difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist/jihadists. The theological and political architecture and underpinning to support the final objective (in this case, the creation of the Caliphate) are virtually the same.

Where the groups differ is in the effective tactics one should use to achieve that goal.

Al-Qaradawi and other Brotherhood leaders, while supporting "defensive" jihad, argue that the most effective way to create a pan-Islamist union is through sustained political action to hollow out host government from within. One need look no farther than the Holy Land Foundation trial documents for a clear statement of this principle.

This includes the slow, deliberate process of carving out small but ever-growing areas under sharia law, and outside the national laws. Al-Qaradawi has publicly outlined the plan of moving sharia law from neighborhoods to municipalities to local government and on to national government.

Hence, when Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, said that the imposition of sharia law on some parts of British society was inevitable it was a tremendously important concession.

The Islamists view the demographic trends and softening of civil society in Europe as making terrorist attacks unnecessary. But, in the end, all will be worshipping Allah or dead if the Brotherhood has its way.

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