The Egyptian government’s pursuit of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership now extends beyond the country’s borders. At Egypt’s behest, Interpol issued warrants for Senior MB leaders, including one against the influential Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. As Asharq al-Awsat reports:
“Egyptian authorities succeeded in persuading Interpol that these figures are fugitives and terrorists who are inciting violence and crimes,” a high-level Egyptian security official informed Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.He revealed that Interpol had issued “red notices” for Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Sheikh Wagdy Ghoneim and 40 other “senior members” of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization.The Egyptian official said that the figures included on the list are wanted on a number of terror-related crimes.As for Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who is often described as the “spiritual godfather” of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian official said: “He has issued statements aiming to confuse relations between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, in addition to inciting violence in Egypt and Syria.”
Egypt has desperately been trying to get international backing for its fight against the Muslim Brotherhood, which it labeled a terrorist group in December of last year following the coup against Muhammad Morsi. The general unwillingness of the international community to take similar steps has caused significant friction between the government of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and various foreign powers, including the United States. The decision by Interpol, which is in theory apolitical, to issue these warrants provides Sisi’s campaign against the Brotherhood with increased legitimacy.Moving against the Doha-based Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi also serves as further proof that Egypt is unwilling to forgive and forget Qatar’s support for the MB and former President Morsi. While the UAE and Saudi Arabia have restored relations with Qatar, Egypt has been hesitant to reopen ties unless, in the words of Egypt’s Foreign Minster, Qatar is “supportive of Egypt and its national security during this stage, and to avoid anything that leads to destabilizing Egypt.” Handing over Qaradawi would be one way to demonstrate that support, but is nonetheless extremely unlikely. Qaradawi hosts one of Al-Jazeera’s most popular talk shows, and is head of the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars. As such he is one of the most prominent and powerful representatives of Qatar’s international Islamist project. If Egypt has decided to make his arrest the necessary step to reconciliation then we can expect Qatar and Egypt to have a confrontational relationship for some time.