01: The Qatar-based and widely respected Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has emerged as the leading religious authority in the Muslim Brotherhood groups, according to an analysis by Israeli analyst Reuven Paz in the Nov. 2004 occasional paper of his Project for Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM).
Paz notes the launching by Qaradawi in 2003-2004 of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), headquartered in Dublin. The IAMS has come to the notice of observers of the Islamic scene by issuing a number of much circulated statements on a variety of issues that alerts Muslims against “perils threatening their ideological and cultural identity.”
In order to promote Islamic awareness and to confront “destructive trends,” the Association wants to unify scholars of all the different schools of thought. Similar to some other Islamic movements, it sees divisions within the Muslim world as a major weakness. In December, following bomb attacks in the Shi’a cities of Najaf and Kerbala, the IAMS issued a warning about a “dangerous conspiracy” at work in Iraq for dividing Sunni and Shi’a.. Regarding Iraqi resistance, the Association has voiced clear support for it, but condemned the killing of hostages.
According to Paz’s analysis, the launching of the IAMS is a step in a move by Qaradawi to attempt to dismantle the old international bodies of the Muslim Brotherhood and to create new ones under his direct control.
There are indications that several high-ranking Brotherhood members might consider dismantling the international council which was established in 1982. Qaradawi seems intent on meeting the expectations of younger generations within the Brotherhood which are challenged by the rise of “global Jihad groups.” The result might be a radicalization of the Brotherhood.
— By Jean-Francois Mayer