A recent interview shows that age is not mellowing Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Muslim Brotherhood theologian. He's not content to live out his years issuing fatwas and enjoying a bizarre reputation as a moderate. Rather, he told the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat, he wants to be killed by an infidel.
"I am a soldier of God Almighty fighting with knowledge, work, and call for God. I wish to conclude my life by martyrdom for the sake of God," a translation of the interview shows. "I wish that God concludes my life with martyrdom, and that my martyrdom be at the hand of a non-Muslim."
He also explained why, in his view that the Islamist movement is crucial because Islam the faith cannot be separated from politics. The goal is to make Islam "victorious," and to do that, "the Islamist movement has to have links to politics, because it is not possible to raise the status of Islam unless it has influence and impact. In the life and nature of Islam there is call, state, creed, Shari'ah, worship, dealings, faith, and worldly life; in order that this is achieved, Islam has to be linked to politics."
Qaradawi remains a highly influential cleric despite such pronouncements. They're relatively tame compared with other comments he's made. Among them, that Hitler punished Jews "for their corruption" and that the next time such punishment is needed, it he hoped it "will be at the hand of the believers." He apparently hopes to mete out some of that punishment himself, praying for the opportunity to kill a Jew before he dies.
Other statements have sanctioned suicide bombings by Palestinians and by Iraqis fighting American soldiers.
Earlier this year, he called on Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons "to terrorize their enemies." He also said that Muslims are permitted to kill Israeli women because they serve in the army.
In the Al-Sharq interview, he repeated his claim that he repeatedly rejected overtures by the Brotherhood, an Egyptian movement that seeks to establish a global Caliphate governed by Islamic law, to serve as its official spiritual guide.