January 4, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7264

Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi Calls For Resistance, Jihad And Martyrdom Following Trump's Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel's Capital

January 4, 2018
Palestinians, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 7264

Following the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump on December 6, 2017 recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi posted several tweets and Facebook messages urging Muslims to fight for the liberation of Jerusalem with resistance and jihad, and praising "the honor of martyrdom," noting that he himself aspires to die as a martyr.

Al-Qaradawi, who heads the International Union of Muslim Clerics (IUMS) and is a prominent authority for the Muslim Brotherhood, also criticized Arabs who do not act on behalf of Jerusalem, came out against Arab normalization with Israel, and used antisemitic expressions to emphasize the hostility toward the Jews that he claims exists in Islam.

This is not the first time that Sheikh Al-Qaradawi has preached violence and jihad, and he has also long preached in favor of perpetrating suicide attacks. MEMRI has reported extensively on his extremist ideology, on the basis of which he calls for jihad and terror attacks. In 2001, for example, in response to a religious ruling by former Saudi mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz Bin 'Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, who prohibited suicide attacks even against soldiers of a country occupying Muslim land, Al-Qaradawi stated that operations by Muslim suicide bombers were a legitimate form of resistance, "heroic acts of martyrdom and sacrifice," and one of the noblest kinds of jihad for the sake of Allah. He clarified: "These operations are the furthest [thing] from suicide and the ones who carry them out are not suicides by any measure. A suicide is someone who kills himself for selfish reasons, while one who sacrifices himself [a fidai] does this for the sake of his religion and ummah. [He] fights the enemies of Allah using a new weapon that God has placed in the hands of the oppressed as a means of resisting the tyranny of the strong and the haughty."[1] The Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research, which Al-Qaradawi heads, [2] also encouraged the perpetration of suicide attacks, and Al-Qaradawi stated that he himself hoped to "die a virtuous death like a jihad warrior, with the head severed from the body."[3] In 2012, he ruled that suicide attacks were permissible in Syria, but said it was conditional on the approval of the "group," without clarifying what he meant by that. During his visit to Gaza in May 2013, Al-Qaradawi expressed support for jihad and martyrdom and reiterated that he hoped to die as a martyr. In 2015, after he was accused of permitting suicide attacks in Egypt following the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Al-Qardawi's office clarified that, in his 2009 book Fiqh of Jihad, he had already ruled that martyrdom attacks were permitted only in Palestine; furthermore, now that the Palestinians have acquired advanced weapons, there is no longer any need for these attacks even in Palestine. However, rulings sanctioning suicide attacks still appear on the sheikh's website and are understood as such among many Islamic circles. [4]

Home page on Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi's Twitter account (

It should be mentioned that Al-Qaradawi has been banned from entering the U.S.s since 1999 and the U.K. since 2008. Furthermore, Al-Qaradawi and the IUMS, which he heads, are included on the lists of terror organizations published in recent months by the four countries that are boycotting Qatar: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.[5]

The following are examples of Sheikh Al-Qaradawi's recent tweets, including those that preach resistance, jihad and martyrdom:

Preaching Resistance, Jihad And Martyrdom: Israel Fears Young People Who Give Their Souls For The Sake Of Allah

On December 6, 2017, the day of Trump's Jerusalem announcement, Al-Qaradawi tweeted: "What is the meaning of Palestine without Jerusalem? Where are the Muslims? Where is the Muslim world? Where is the Islamic ummah throughout the world? We have no choice but to resist this [announcement] and respond to it with an unequivocal 'no'."[6] One day later, he tweeted: "Jerusalem is threatened by the Zionist enemy who has perfectly implemented his plan to swallow and Judaize it. I therefore wish to draw the attention of those who are oblivious [to this fact], encourage those who are afraid, strengthen those who are diffident, expose the traitors, encourage the jihad fighters, and liberate the ummah from [its] weakness. May we be strong or die as martyrs!"[7]

 On December 10, he tweeted: "Israel no longer fears anything, except for the young people who risk their lives and sacrifice their souls for Allah, and care not whether they meet death or death finds them." He also expressed regret that he himself could not be a martyr for the sake of Jerusalem: "I wish that I myself could heed the call of the first direction of prayer [i.e., Jerusalem] and participate in some manner in the jihad for the sake of Jerusalem and the beloved Al-Aqsa and gain the honor of martyrdom for the sake of the blessed land."[8]

On December 20 the sheikh tweeted that jihad for the sake of Jerusalem was the personal religious duty of every Muslim: "Jihad in defense of a [certain] land is the personal [religious] duty of the [Muslim] people who reside in that land. But  if the residents' defense is insufficient, it is the duty of their neighbors [to join them], and this may even include all Muslims. Islam does not permit the Muslims to give up even an inch of Muslim land, and if that land is Jerusalem, then jihad for the sake of liberating it is the most glorious and honorable [form of jihad]."[9] The next day he tweeted: "Reality has taught us that our enemies do not understand the force of rationality but only the rationale of force, for they used force to take the land from its owners, and used force to realize [their] dream of a national homeland, and used force to and establish their state. And now they are using force to annex new territories to it."[10]

Criticism Of The Arabs: Talk Will Not Help; The Arabs Are Making More And More Concessions To The Zionists

As stated, Al-Qaradawi criticized the Arabs, stating that they were not doing anything tangible for Jerusalem. In a December 6 tweet he wrote: "The blade cannot be resisted by the tongue and weapons cannot be opposed with words. That is impossible. There is no choice but to wage resistance; this ummah must resist and never capitulate. Today we may be helpless, but our refusal is also a kind of resistance.[11] On December 7 he tweeted: "Our sheikh [Muhammad] Al-Ghazali [1917-1996][12] said that the aggressive wars in which the Jews defeated us... were not won thanks to the bravery of the Jewish fighter or the power of his weapons, but due to our worthless leaders and the Arabs' unsophisticated plans..."[13]

The sheikh also criticized Arab normalization with Israel and any concession made to the "Zionists": "We are mistaken to think that concessions will bring us any real solutions, for ever since negotiations with the Zionists began, the Arabs have [only] been making more and more concessions, to the point where they have given up almost everything."[14]

Antisemitic Tweets: The Jews Are The Greatest Of Liars And Traitors

Many of Al-Qaradawi's tweets were antisemitic in character. A December 11 tweet stated: "The Quran does not devote as much space to the Persians and Romans as it does to the Jews, whose crimes and depraved deeds it exposes. They are the greatest of liars when they speak, the greatest of villains when they quarrel, and the most treacherous of people when they make pacts."[15] Several days later he condemned Arabs who emulate the Jews, tweeting: "We shall never liberate our land  unless we [first] liberate ourselves and our thinking. What must be stressed is that we are truly hostile to the Jews, yet we find that some of us are learning from their ideas, and there is no need to name names because [their identity] is known."[16]   


[1], April 21, 2001.

[2] The council was founded by Al-Qaradawi in 1997 in London, and its deputy head is Faisal Maulawi (1941-2011), who served in the 1990s as the secretary-general of Al-Jama'a Al-Islamiyya in Lebanon, and was the ideologue of the Islamist organizations in France (see, October 3, 2004). The council's stated goal is to bring together Islamic scholars in Europe and issue fatwas for Muslims living there, among other objectives (see its website: It should be mentioned that  Ken Livingstone, who was mayor of London in 2000-2008, championed the council and Al-Qaradawi as representatives of moderate Islam and on several occasions defended the sheikh, claiming that his ideology is far from extremist. On Livingstone and Al-Qaradawi, see MEMRI  Special Dispatch No. 869,  Al-Qaradhawi at Solidarity Conference: 'I Hope to Die a Virtuous Death Like a Jihad Warrior, with the Head Severed from the Body; The Qatar Authorities Do Not Interfere in My Sermons', February 25, 2005; MEMRI TV Clip No. 497, London Mayor Ken Livingstone On Memri And Sheik Al-Qaradhawi, January 17, 2005.

[4] For examples of the incitement to suicide attacks by the council and by Al-Qaradawi, see MEMRI Reports: Special Dispatch No. 542, Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden, July 24, 2003; Special Dispatch No. 5316, Al-Qaradhawi's Support For Jihad And Martyrdom During Gaza Visit And In Biography Of Hamas Bomb Maker Yahya 'Ayyash, May 28, 2013; Special Dispatch No.6530, Gulf Officials Blast Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi: He Is The 'Mufti Of Suicide Attacks,' Should Be Prosecuted, July 19, 2016.

[5] On these terror lists, see Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), June 9, 2017; 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), July 25, 2017;  Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), November 23, 2017. In response to the publication of the third list, Al-Qaradawi tweeted on his personal account:  "In the last decades we have shouldered [the task of] opposing the extremist tendencies... that are creating chaos in the Islamic arena, and now we are included on the terror lists?", November 24, 2017. On the tension between the Gulf states and Qatar, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1315, Uproar In The Gulf Following Alleged Statements By Qatari Emir Condemning Gulf States, Praising Iran, Hizbullah, Muslim Brotherhood And Hamas, May 25, 2017.

[6], December 6, 2017.

[7], December 7, 2017.

[8], December 10, 2017.

[9], December 20, 2017.

[10], December 21, 2017.

[11], December 6, 2017.

[12] An influential Egyptian Islamic scholar and one of Al-Qaradawi's chief mentors.

[13], December 7, 2017.

[14], December 8, 2017.

[15], December 11, 2017.

[16], December 14, 2017.

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