Egypt’s Request for Qatar’s Extradition of Sheikh Yusuf Al- Qaradawi
Sheikh Yusuf Al- Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood chief jurist, has resided in Qatar for decades. However on May 26, 2015 Egyptian authorities requested Qatar extradite Qaradawi back to Egypt. Yusuf Qaradawi, followed by as many as 41 other Muslim Brotherhood officials, such as the former President of Egypt Mohammad Morsi, are awaiting the death penalty in Egypt. Following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government, Qaradawi issued a call for jihad in Egypt. Their convictions include, but are not limited to, murder, violence, inciting violence, theft, insulting the judiciary and escaping from jail. The Egyptian court will have their final decision on the matter June 2, 2015.
Yusuf Al- Qaradawi’s background is far from clean, as his membership to the Muslim Brotherhood has led to multiple arrests. The Muslim Brotherhood has been the cause of many Egyptian crackdowns, such as the ones in 1949, 1954 and 1981. In Qaradawi’s autobiography, each arrest and imprisonment experience is discussed with a sense of dignity and positivity, even comparing himself to the Quaranic story of Joseph. A similar sense of comfortableness is seen in Qaradawi’s comments on the current charges he is facing, saying they are “worthless and undeserving of attention.”
Yusuf Al- Qaradawi along with the other 41 Muslim Brotherhood Organization members facing charges can all be found on the Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, wanted list. The addition of all these men to the wanted list is a good sign for Egypt. Leaders like the Chief of the Egyptian Police Interpol, Gamal Abdel Bary, commented saying this is “an important change in the international communities’ view to the banned groups members.”
Qatar is a member of Interpol, and therefore should comply with the request of Qaradawi’s extradition.
However, since Egypt’s request was made Qatar has not been inclined to comply. The Assistant to the Minister of Justice Adel Fahmy tells a local Egyptian newspaper, “Qatar did not previously accept the Interpol calls to arrest the defendants although both countries, Egypt and Qatar, are signatories to an agreement of exchange of prisoners.” Egypt contacted Qatar earlier this year regarding Qaradawi, requesting Qatar to freeze all assets of his on the basis that they go to fund terrorism. Qaradawi is the head of the Union of the Good a network of Muslim Brotherhood-linked charities which finances Hamas.
Egypt and Qatar’s have a long history of a rocky relationship. And to make matters worse, recently the Egyptian delegate to the Arab League, Tariq Adel, accused Qatar of supporting terrorism earlier this year. Qatar responded by recalling its ambassador to Egypt, and their relationship has yet to improve. Qatar’s financing of terrorism has also been a source of tension between Qatar and several states, including the U.S., Germany, Iraq and Israel.
Since Egypt’s declaration of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, steps have been made to detain Brotherhood members. This move by Egyptian authorities to indict Qaradawi for his role in calling for violence is a painful but necessary step to expose the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, and their anti-democratic ways.
Reconciliation between Egypt and Qatar seems unlikely, and Qaradawi’s return to Egypt is not imminent.