Wael Ghonim Barred on Stage: Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Radical Clerics Flood Back Into Egypt

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Oxford University trustee and the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars returned to Egypt after being banned from Egypt for radicalism and

Wael Ghonim

possible involvement in the assassination of the Anwar Sadat. Today, Yusuf al-Qaradawi lead Friday prayers and refused to let Google marketing exec, Egyptian-born Wael Ghonim on the stage in Tahrir Square. Radicals are flooding back into Egypt. Al-Qaradawi’s children have been on the streets rallying to bring down Hosni Mubarak. The question is: why was an organizer of the uprising, one wanting democracy, banned from the stage and from speaking to Egyptians in Tahrir Square?

Reports are that the security guards for influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has close associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, refused to let Ghonim take the stage.There’s a message there? Yes.

Ghonim was born in Cairo in 1980, and earned a BS in computer engineering from Cairo University and an MBA in marketing and finance from the American University in Cairo. He is reportedly the Facebook poster who got the protest movements underway. He is married to an American and has two children. He is the head of Marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa. Ghonim disappeared from Cairo on January 27 and didn’t surface until February 7th when he was released from custody.

Here’s something interesting, if true: Ghonim, after being released from custody, tweeted that he and his friends had met al-Qaradawi and had “saluted” him.


Until today, Al-Qaradawi had not led Friday prayers since 1981. Others long banned from leading prayer got their moment this week:

Other prominent Muslim scholars were also banned from delivering the Friday sermon, such as Abd al-Hamid Kishk, Sheikh Mohammed al-Ghazali, and Sheikh Ahmed El-Mahallawi. El-Mahallawi lately returned to leading Friday prayers during the revolution at al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria. Sheikh Qaradawi confirmed in a telephone call with the German Press Agency that he would lead tomorrow’s prayers in Tahrir, with hundreds of thousands expected to attend.

At this moment, I cannot tie Ghazali and Mahallawi to the Muslim Brotherhood, but I’m betting that link is out there somewhere.

From The Investigative Project on Terrorism:

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic scholar associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He is known for his militant religious rulings and political commentary in support of acts of terrorism and repression of women. He is currently the host of Al Jazeera’s most popular show, “Shariah and Life,” and, largely because of this, has become a very influential force among Muslims worldwide. Al-Qaradawi also serves as chairman of the board of trustees at the Islamic American University, a subsidiary of the Muslim American Society.

At a conference in 1995 speaking to the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in Toledo, Ohio:

What remains, then, is to conquer Rome. The second part of the omen. “The city of Hiraq [once emporor of Constantinople] will be conquered first,” so what remains is to conquer Rome.’ This means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it tiwce…Conquest through Da’wa [proselytizing], that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da’wa.

Like a good Muslim, Qaradawi believes and preaches that Hitler imposed justice on Jews, and said, “he managed to put them in their place.” “This was divine punishment for them.” And then he said: (source Memri)

“To conclude my speech, I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair.

I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you.”

This is also the day we have learned that Egypt will let Iranian warships traverse the Suez Canal to Syria – the first time since 1979 – the first time since Iran’s militant Mullahs came to power, that warring ships have passed through. What has changed between Egypt and Iran? The U.S. Navy Times says this is, perhaps, Egypt’s first diplomatic “dilemma.” It was not a dilemma for Hosni Mubarak. It is a dilemma for Barack Obama whose new press secretary, Jay Carney admitted that “Iran does not have a great track record of responsible behavior in the region.” Egypt holds sovereignty over the Suez Canal, however, the Camp David Accords of 1978 (Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty – not the first treaty to grant passage to all countries) assured Israel the right to free passage, after a very contentious history with Israel, and the West.

[Camp David Accords]…the right of free passage by ships of Israel through the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal on the basis of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 applying to all nations; the Strait of Tiran and Gulf of Aqaba are international waterways to be open to all nations for unimpeded and  nonsuspendable freedom of navigation and overflight;

As Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour recently said, the Camp David Accords have come to an end.

Earlier this week, Ghonim did take the stage and acknowledged the lives lost in the protests, called them heroes and called on those in control to honor the desires of the Egyptian people. The crowd cheered and chanted, but Friday, Ghonim was barred from the stage by Islamic radicals.

Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt’s uprising, was barred from the stage in Tahrir Square on Friday by security guards, an AFP photographer said. Ghonim tried to take the stage in Tahrir, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, but men who appeared to be guarding influential Muslim cleris Yusuf al-Qaradawi barred him from doing so.

The Egypt of Hosni Mubarak, skittish about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, is now gone, and a brash new Egypt allows Iranian warships, armed with nuclear missiles, to make their way to Syria though the Suez, and then travel the full-length of the Israeli shoreline – armed. With the Suez situation and Ghonim’s banishment, the world is privvy to this turning point. I’m waiting to hear from Wael. The seemingly righteous uprising has just been publicly ripped from the hearts of the young 20-30-somethings who have declared they are in control…they will not let any group, including the Muslim Brotherhood, steal their fought-and-died for freedom. The silence is ferocious.