On March 25, 2012, the renowned French Algerian author and leading intellectual Mohamed Sifaoui wrote an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the letter, Sifaoui criticized the upcoming conference in Paris of the French Islamist organization UOIF (Union des Organisations Islamiques de France), denouncing in particular the expected participation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi and using a MEMRI TV clip to expose Al-Qaradhawi's genocidal incitement. As a result, Sarkozy banned Al-Qaradhawi from entering France.
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi has been barred from entering the U.S. since 1999, and in early February 2008 it was announced that he was barred from entering the U.K. In a September 29, 2008 interview, Al-Qaradhawi told the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that he was now banned "in many European countries." MEMRI research on Al-Qaradhawi was instrumental in the U.K. ban, and has also been used by the media and by government bodies in the U.S. and throughout Europe. A compilation of Al-Qaradhawi video clips can be found on the MEMRI TV YouTube page; view Part I here and Part II here .
Sarkozy's ban also included Egyptian sheikh Mahmoud Al-Masri, who is known for his antisemitic, anti-Shi'ite, and anti-women incitement.
The following is a summary of Sifaoui's letter, with additional information about other reactions to Al-Qaradhawi's anticipated participation and the ban on his entering France, as well as appendices with MEMRI TV clips of Al-Qaradhawi and Al-Masri.
Sifaoui's Letter to Sarkozy
In his letter, Sifaoui focuses on the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), which is holding its annual conference April 6-9, 2012 in Paris. He points out that the organization provides a platform for promoters of extremist ideologies, and adds that since the 1980s, it has been promoting political Islam in the same way as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sifaoui notes that despite its extremist line, the French government has legitimized the UOIF by making it part of France's official Islamic umbrella organization, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM). Warning that inciting speech should not be "trivialized" as something normal, he states that the UOIF has invited two controversial figures to the upcoming convention – prominent Sunni scholar Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi and Egyptian sheikh Mahmoud Al-Masri. In the context of the "national tragedy" of Mohamed Merah's murder of French soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse and Montauban, he points out "the damage that can be caused to weak minds by religious extremism."
Sifaoui Quotes Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi in MEMRI TV Clip
Sifaoui goes on to quote from a January 2009 speech by Al-Qaradhawi, as published by MEMRI: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers [i.e. the Muslims]."
Sifaoui posted the MEMRI TV clip of the speech on his blog:
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2005.
(For more MEMRI TV clips on Al-Qaradhawi, see Appendix I)
Next in the letter, Sifaoui refers to Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Masri, who preaches on the Egyptian Al-Nas satellite channel and previously preached on the Saudi Al-Majd channel, saying: "Experts and knowledgeable French government institutions will be able to provide you [President Sarkozy] with extra information regarding this figure [Qaradhawi], as well as other guests such as 'Sheikh' Mahmoud Al-Masri, well known for his no less extremist views."
Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Masri on MEMRI TV
MEMRI TV has been monitoring and translating Al-Masri since 2005, most recently on February 17, 2012 on Al-Nas TV (for this and more MEMRI TV clips on Al-Masri, see Appendix II).
In 2005, in a program on Al-Majd TV, Al-Masri spoke about being in Queens, NY in September of 2001 and viewing the World Trade Center. He said: "We were in America once, to preach for Allah. It was at the time the WTC fell. I was on an island called Queens, which is opposite Manhattan, where the WTC is located. Allah be praised, we were there for 10 days or so, and Allah willed… My friend, Allah protect him, said to me: 'I'd love to see the two buildings since they're so beautiful.' We looked at them from a distance, since the sea separated us from the buildings, and we said, 'how beautiful,' because their beauty was indescribable. We went back home to sleep.
"Allah be praised, two or three hours later we heard the two buildings had fallen. I said to my friend: 'Well done, doctor!' He said to me: 'We'll both be rewarded. We were a good omen.'... We thought we must show these [Americans]... wretched people [who] need to get to know Islam, the Muslims, and the values of the Prophet and his companions, and the values of the Muslims.
"We began to preach to them in classes on mercy and tolerance in Islam, and so on. A few days later, the American president gave a speech at the Islamic center in Washington – note how from the crisis comes the gift of God. In his speech, he read a Koranic verse from 'Al-Maida' chapter: Therefore, we decreed for the children of Israel that whoever kills a person – except as punishment for murder or corruption in the land – it is as if he killed all mankind, and whoever saves one life, it is as if he saved all mankind.
"When the people heard the Koran had such a verse, they all rushed to get translations of the Koran. When we ran out of Korans, we brought more copies. With Allah's grace, in the course of seven days, 6,000 Americans converted to Islam, and declared Allah is the one and only God. Note the grace of Allah 6,000 Americans... in the course of a single month, an unimaginable number of 23,000 Americans converted to Islam."
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/600.
Sarkozy Announces Ban
On March 26, 2012, a day after Sifaoui published his letter, Sarkozy announced that both Al-Qaradhawi and Al-Masri were prohibited from entering France. Sarkozy directly informed the Qatari emir of his decision because the latter holds a Qatari diplomatic passport.
Political and Media Reactions
As early as March 24, 2012, both Front National leader Marine Le Pen and leading French socialist and Socialist Party campaign spokesman Manuel Valls requested that Qaradhawi be banned from entering France. Valls said, referring to the Toulouse and Montauban murders: "It is not acceptable that such an individual could be allowed to tread on the soil of the French Republic – [and] even less so in the tragic context that we just experienced." 
In a report on the ban, the French mainstream-left daily Le Monde referred to the same January 2009 statements by Al-Qaradhawi as Sifaoui did on the basis of the MEMRI TV clip. The paper noted: "In January 2009, [Qaradhawi] rejoiced that Hitler 'rebuked' the Jews and said that the Holocaust was a 'divine punishment.'"
Appendix I: MEMRI TV Clips of Al-Qaradhawi
MEMRI TV Clip No. 3287
Sunni Scholar Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Islamic Law Should Be Implemented Gradually in Egypt; There Should Be No Chopping Off of Hands in the First Five Years
Al-Nahar TV (Egypt) - January 26, 2012
MEMRI TV Clip No. 3251
Sunni Scholar Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Calls upon Muslims to Oppose French Bill Criminalizing Denial of Armenian Genocide
Qatar TV - December 23, 2011
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2670
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Joins Crowds in Jihad Chants at Rally in Mauritania
The Internet - October, 2010
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2394
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Reiterates His Support of Suicide Bombings and States: Women and Copts Are Allowed to Run for President in Egypt
BBC Arabic (The UK) - February 8, 2010
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2290
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Threatens a Boycott on Switzerland if "We Despair of Other Measures"
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - December 7, 2009
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2138
Sunni Scholar Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Protests: Obama Drew a Parallel between the Koran and the Bible
Qatar TV - June 5, 2009
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2103
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Criticizes Jordan for Hosting the Pope: He Should First Apologize for Affronting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad
Qatar TV - May 8, 2009
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2057
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The Arabs Should Obtain Nuclear Weapons for Deterrence
Qatar TV - February 20, 2009 - 02:41
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2005
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish Them - "Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers"
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - January 28-30
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1979
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Incites against Jews, Arab Regimes, and the U.S., and Calls on Muslims to Boycott Starbucks, Marks and Spencer
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - January 9, 2009
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1592
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Islam's "Conquest of Rome" Will Save Europe from Its Subjugation to Materialism and Promiscuity
Qatar TV - July 28, 2007
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1515
Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al Praises Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi for His Support of Suicide Operations and States: The Holocaust Was Exaggerated and Is Used to Extort Germany. Zionist Holocaust against Arabs Much Worse.
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - July 16, 2007
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1308
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi on the Risks of Female Masturbation
Qatar TV - October 28, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1249
Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: The Jews of Today Bear Responsibility for Their Forefathers' Crime against Jesus
Qatar TV - August 26, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1170
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Homosexuals Should Be Punished Like Fornicators But Their Harm Is Less When Not Done in Public
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - June 5, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1093
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Justifies the Killing of Israeli Women and Children in Suicide Operations
Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia) - March 12, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1074
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi's Conditions for Muslim Men Who Want to Marry Christian and Jewish Women in the West
Qatar TV - March 12, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1052
Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Our War with the Jews Is in the Name of Islam
Qatar TV - February 25, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1026
Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi Responds to Prophet Muhammad's Caricature: Whoever Is Angered and Does Not Rage in Anger Is a Jackass; We Are Not a Nation of Jackasses
Qatar TV - February 3, 2006
MEMRI TV Clip No. 822
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi and other Islamic Scholars Debate Suicide Operations in a Counter-Terrorism Conference Held in Sharm Al-Sheik
Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia) - August 22, 2005
MEMRI TV Clip No. 472
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: U.S., Israel Waging War On Me, Accusing Me of Supporting Terrorism
Qatar TV - January 7, 2005
MEMRI TV Clip No. 470
Tsunami Reactions (9) - Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Disaster a Punishment for Sex Tourism
Qatar TV - January 7, 2005
MEMRI TV Clip No. 392
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi on Homosexuality and Western Culture
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - November 28, 2004
MEMRI TV Clip No. 96
Sheikh Qaradhawi: American Culture And Judaism Spread Violence In The World
Qatar TV - May 30, 2004
MEMRI TV Clip No. 45
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi in Favor of Suicide Operations
Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) - April 25, 2004
Appendix II: More MEMRI TV Clips of Al-Masri
MEMRI TV Clip No. 3334
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri: The Jews, Who Slayed the Prophets, Will Never Abide by Any Treaty
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - February 17, 2012
MEMRI TV Clip No. 3326
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion Use Soccer to Distract the Islamic Peoples
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - February 7, 2012t
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2702
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri Prays to Allah to Unleash Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Jews upon the Shiites
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - September 20, 2010 - 01:33
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2268
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri Recommends Tricking Jews into Becoming Muslims
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - August 10, 2009 - 01:39
MEMRI TV Clip No. 2199
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri: A Woman Should Serve Her Husband Like a Maid; Women's Strength Lies in Their Weakness
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - March 22, 2009 - 02:17
MEMRI TV Clip No. 1519
Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri Teaches Children It Is OK to Lie - to the Wife, to Jews in Times of War, and In Order to Reconcile between Two Muslims
Al-Nas TV (Egypt) - July 21, 2007
MEMRI TV Clip No. 670
Egyptian Imam Sings of Apes, Pigs and the Annihilation of Jews on Judgment Day
Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia) - May 4, 2005
 On March 29, 2012, the UOIF website reported that French Interior Minister Claude Guéant and a "UOIF delegation" met to discuss the ban on "six UOIF guests." During the meeting, the UOIF delegation "explained that the [ban] decision concerned prominent scholars who enjoy worldwide respect, and who are known for their peace-promoting discourse and work [and for their striving for] dialogue between peoples and for respect for universal values" (http://www.uoif-online.com/v3/spip.php?article1257). The same day, Minister Gueant and Foreign Affairs minister Alain Juppé issued a declaration pertaining to the ban of "four" foreign guests invited to the UOIF conference: Akrima Sabri, Ayed bin Abdallah Al-Qarni, Safwat Al-Hijazi, and Abdallah Basfar, noting that Al-Qaradhawi and Al-Masri had "renounced coming" (http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/le-ministere/le-ministre-d-etat-et-les/alain-juppe/presse-et-media-20656/article/interdiction-d-entree-sur-le).
 Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars, has a long-running program, "Sharia and Life," on Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV, and is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 The Guardian, (U.K.), September 4, 2005, http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Observer/documents/2005/09/04Document1.pdf, http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Observer/documents/2005/09/04Confidential.pdf. U.K. government documents leaked to the media showed that Mockbul Ali, Islamic Affairs advisor to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, had written a report urging the government to allow Sheikh Al-Qaradawi to enter the U.K., and stressing that all the material against Sheikh Al-Qaradawi was produced by MEMRI and should therefore be disregarded. The government dismissed his recommendation and rejected Al-Qaradawi's visa request. Also see MEMRI Special Report No. 30, "Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in London to Establish 'The International Council of Muslim Clerics,' http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sr&ID=SR3004.
 For more on Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, see http://www.memritv.org/search/en/results/0/0/0/%7C/0/30/0/0/0.htm?k=Qaradhawi&bAdvSearch=true
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2224, "Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler On the Jews to Punish Them – 'Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers,'" February 05, 2009, Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler On the Jews to Punish Them – 'Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers'
 Lemonde.fr, March 26, 2012.