Qaradawi Maintains Online Presence Despite Prior Support for Suicide Bombings
(New York, N.Y.) - Notorious al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, but his death did not silence him. Awlaki’s lectures continued to live on in the Internet and inspire extremism and violence. However, after years of advocacy from the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), in November 2017, Awlaki’s online presence on YouTube was reduced from 70,000 results to dozens. Unfortunately, many other extremists remain online and their works also calling for hate, terrorism, and violence are still all too accessible.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Islamist theologian living in Qatar, is the unofficial chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. Through verified accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as his personal websites, Qaradawi releases his writings, speeches, and fatwas, which have called for the murder of Americans, gay people, and Jews. He has used his influence to promote extreme positions justifying violent terrorism and called for the murder of U.S. citizens in Iraq and for Muslims around the world to travel to Syria to take up arms.
“Although Anwar al-Awlaki is considered one of the most notorious Islamist propagandists to have ever lived, Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the few individuals who can match Awlaki’s online reach,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “Qaradawi’s online presence demonstrates how Islamist extremism is still alive and thriving on Internet platforms and social media. His calls to terrorism and violence—from defending suicide bombings to supporting ‘jihad until death’ against Israel—show that the worst of the worst online extremists are still not being removed from the Internet.”
In Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Ties to Extremists, CEP has documented 15 extremist individuals and organizations with ties to Qaradawi. Individuals such as Mohammed Morsi, former president of Egypt and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is currently serving a life sentence in Egypt for killing protesters. Qaradawi issued a fatwa after Morsi’s removal from office, calling for Egyptians to support the former president and naming him the “legitimate” leader of Egypt. Another, acting Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Ezzat, is wanted for instigating violent protests in Egypt. Ezzat has cited Qaradawi’s influence over the terrorist organization.
Previously, CEP spotlighted Qaradawi’s significant presence on social media. Then, CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch stated that Facebook and Twitter’s online verification of Qaradawi’s pages “legitimizes his brand of extremism … [making] it easier to find his videos on social media and video streaming sites and further challenges any possibility of online removal.” Searches for Qaradawi’s name in both English and Arabic led to more than 75,000 results, featuring news program interviews and other media appearances, speeches and videos made either about Qaradawi, or featuring his edicts.
To read CEP’s resource on Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Ties To Extremists, please click here.
To read CEP’s Extremism Spotlight on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, please click here.