Following are excerpts from an interview with leading Sunni scholar Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on June 9, 2013.
Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "It is not just the army that is fighting in Syria, but the Russians and the Iranians. The Iranians are fighting us through the money they send, and by means of their weapons, their men, and their policies.
"The most dominant group that is fighting the Syrian people is the group that calls itself 'Hizbullah' ['Party of God'], although it is, in fact, the 'Party of Satan' 'Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Satan. It is the party of Satan that will be the losers.' They have come to fight the Syrian people. They are killing them by the thousands.
"But Allah will not let them be. Allah will take revenge on them for the Syrian people. […]
"I defended Hizbullah when it was fighting Israel. I defended them when the most important sheikhs in Saudi Arabia warned against Hizbullah, against the strife they sow, against their deception, and against what they harbor within. I defended them.
"As it turns out, the position of those clerics was more mature and discerning than mine. I took things at face value. After all, I want to unite the Muslims and bring them together. The Muslims are fighting the Zionists. How could I possibly take the same position as the Zionists?
"But it turns out that the sheikhs – may Allah have mercy upon those who have passed away and preserve those who are alive – saw things more clearly than me.
"Those people, whom I defended, have come to kill their brethren in Syria." […]
"I call upon anybody who is capable, anyone who has experienced fighting anywhere in the world, and can go and help his brothers in Al-Qusseir and those parts, to go and do so, if there is nothing to stop him.
"I call upon individuals and countries to do so – especially the countries of the Arab Gulf, who are closest to [Sunni] Syrians, but also upon all the other Arab countries." […]
Interviewer: "Are you calling for jihad in Syria?"
Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "Jihad is now incumbent upon all Muslims, each according to his capabilities – both individuals and countries. Nobody must spare a thing in helping this country, which will be destroyed if we do not help it. The Islamic nation is capable of helping it. […]
"The ulema of Saudi Arabia have long been my beloved brothers. I am not a stranger in Saudi Arabia. I am a member of the Muslim World League and of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy. King Abdullah is a dear friend of mine. Allah be praised, I share nothing but love and trust with these brothers." […]