December 31, 2011

OUR BROTHERS:

Mediator in Taliban-U.S. talks backed Kashmir jihad (PRAVEEN SWAMI, 12/29/11, The Hindu)

Egyptian-born Mr. al-Qaradawi is seen by both the United States and the Taliban traditionalists as an ally in the battle against the growing influence of this new generation of commanders. Expelled from his homeland for his Islamist views, he has emerged over the last year as ideological pole star of the Muslim Brotherhood -- now West Asia's most influential political movement.

In 1993, Mr. al-Qaradawi issued a landmark edict endorsing democratic pluralism; the Muslim Brotherhood later cast its embrace of electoral politics in Egypt and elsewhere as a form of da'wa, or proselytising missionary work. Even though Mr. al-Qaradawi said he remained committed to "the spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world," he argued this could be achieved peacefully.

He condemned 9/11 and, in September, 2005, described the Iraqi jihadist Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi as a "criminal." In a 2009 book, he defended armed jihad under specific conditions -- Kashmir, Iraq and, later, Libya were among those cases he endorsed -- but lashed out at al-Qaeda for a "mad declaration of war on the whole world."

Mr. al-Qaradawi explained his logic thus to Der Spiegel: "The [Muslim Brotherhood] have tried [jihad], but [jihad] has not been helpful, and we have not gained anything out of [jihad] other than detention, suffering, and victimisation."

The Muslim Brotherhood's decision to embrace electoral politics incensed al-Qaeda. In 2008, al-Qaeda's now-chief Ayman al-Zawahiri lashed out at the Muslim Brotherhood for accepting the Egyptian constitution, rather than God's word, as a source of law -- a fundamental betrayal, he claimed, of the precepts of Islam. In many countries, Brotherhood cadre clashed with salafi-jihadist groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda.

The west's embrace of Mr. al-Qaradawi for its Afghan negotiations marks the restoration of an old, but little-known, relationship. Key Brotherhood leaders like Said Ramadan, the historian Ian Johnson has shown, were cultivated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency for anti-communist operations --along with several central and west Asian Islamists who fought with German fascist forces against the Soviet Union in 1941-1945.
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Posted by at December 31, 2011 10:16 AM
  

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