Qaradawi’s Tunisia visit sparks question of Brotherhood leaders’ relocation
Youssef al-Qaradawy - YOUM7 (Archive)
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and pro-Muslim Brotherhood figure Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi denied on Sunday transferring his place of residence from Doha to Tunisia.

“Rumors about me relocating and moving to Tunisia or any other country are nothing but baseless slander and dreamers’ hopes that will not come true,” Qaradawi tweeted.

On Friday, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi and 82 senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrived in Tunisia for unknown reasons. The visit comes weeks after Prince of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad’s visit to Tunisia and meeting with the Tunisian Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki. The visit is reportedly linked by several political analysts with a possible future localization of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Qaradawi.

Following Qaradawi’s visit to Tunisia, rumors went viral in newspapers and social media networks suggesting that Qatar ‘deported’ Qaradawi and the other senior leaders in an attempt to heal the rift in its deteriorating relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Egypt.

The royal court in Qatar issued strict orders to MB figures in Doha to refrain from talking to the media and said they would be deported to Tunisia, sources told the London-based Al Arab newspaper.

In his tweet, Qaradawi said, “my personal position does not reflect the position of the Qatari government.” The statement is considered an attempt by Qaradawi to “relieve pressure” on Qatar.

“I spent over 53 years in Qatar preaching, calling and writing about Islam without anyone telling me what to say, what not to say or why are you saying that,” said Qaradawi.

Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian cleric who has lived in Qatar since the 1970s. His sermons have criticized authorities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, particularly following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last July.

On 5 March, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, criticizing Doha’s unlimited support to the Muslim Brotherhood and accusing it of interfering in the inner policies of GCC countries.

On Wednesday, the heads of the GCC countries, including Qatar, met in an extraordinary session in Riyadh and reached an agreement to ensure the sovereignty, interests, security and stability of each nation.

The agreement reportedly included the deportation of Brotherhood leaders from Qatar and stopping Qatari media, namely Al Jazeera TV, from interfering in the internal affairs of GCC countries and Egypt.

Qatar houses several wanted Egyptian Islamists, including Asem Abdel Maged, a Gamaa al-Islamiyya leader being tried in absentia in an Egyptian court on charges including inciting violence and destabilizing Egypt’s national security.

In mid-March, Saudi Arabia declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, a decision Egypt took last December.

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