One of the most influential Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leaders called on Egyptians to rise up against the army for removing President Mohamed Morsi – a Muslim Brotherhood member – earlier this month.
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi made his comments Sunday on Al Jazeera, the Middle East Online news service reports. "if he, who has disobeyed the ruler, does not repent, then he must be killed," Qaradawi said, citing Quranic passages. "There is a legitimate ruler (in reference to Morsi) and people must obey and listen to him."
He did not name anyone specifically, Middle East Online notes, but his comments seemed focused on army commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who forced Morsi from office July 3, one year after Egyptians elected him. The move followed historic street protests by Egyptians who felt betrayed by Morsi's leadership, seeing him more concerned with consolidating power for Islamists than in addressing Egypt's critical economic crisis and other challenges.
But Qaradawi saw no cause to remove Morsi. "Who made you the general commander of the military?" he asked. "Who made you the minister of defence? It's the same president you have removed who elevated you. You swore to obey him and you went against your word, which is haram [forbidden] in Islam."
That comments amount to a call for assassination, analysts told Middle East Online.
It's just part of a campaign of heated rhetoric and incitement from the Muslim Brotherhood. Dozens of people have died in skirmishes since Morsi's ouster, including 12 people on Tuesday. More than 50 people died when Muslim Brotherhood members surrounded the army's Republican Guard headquarters July 8. A book found in the aftermath urged people to wage jihad against their foes.
This week, Essam el-Erian, vice president of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, called on pro-Morsi protesters to besiege the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Al-Sisi, meanwhile, called for protests of his own by "every honorable and honest Egyptian" to "show your size and steadfastness in the face of what is going on."
Qaradawi lives in Qatar, the Gulf State which owns Al Jazeera. His program, "Shariah and Life," is among the network's most popular. Al Jazeera is about to launch its new American channel. Qaradawi's comments mark the latest troubling episode about the nature of the channel's programming. More than 20 staffers quit in the wake of Morsi's removal, citing the network's bias for the Muslim Brotherhood.