In a speech largely focused on the current events in Gaza, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi gave the Friday prayer speech of Al-Azhar mosque, for the first time.
The Islamic scholar said that it is important for the Arab and Islamic World to unite to face their common enemy and support the Palestinians in Gaza through all forms of support as they face arbitrary Israeli practices and killings, according to MENA.
He added that the Arab and Islamic World has the ability to end these Israeli practices using combined manpower, geographic resources, economic resources and unified religion and language, if they unite their word and act as “one hand.”
Qaradawi also spoke about the violence in Syria, describing Bashar Al-Assad’s regime as authoritarian and condemning the killing of unarmed Syrian women and children. He called on all Muslims to have patience and hope as they face the crisis.
Qaradawi did not lead the Friday prayers, which were led by the Minister of Religious Endowments, Tala’at Afifi, but gave the speech before the prayers. Qaradawi is Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He has lived in Doha, Qatar, for several years and arrived in Cairo on Thursday. He is set to stay for a few days.
Qaradawi was born in 1926 and studied at Al-Azhar University. Today, he is considered an influential scholar with over 100 published books.
He led Friday prayers from Tahrir Square to a crowd of millions, one week after the revolution ended in February, 2011. According to Al-Arabiya, this was the first Friday prayer he has led since 1981, when he and other scholars were banned from leading the weekly prayer.
Al-Qaradawi has strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and is considered the group’s spiritual leader. He was arrested three times under Gamal Abdel-Nasser for connections with the group. He fled Egypt in 1961 for Qatar.