Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926, Egypt) is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) headquartered in Dublin, and is the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS) headquartered in London. Al-Qaradawi gained a global audience through the show, "ash-Shariah wal-Hayat" ("Shariah and Life") on al Jazeera, and through Islam Online, a popular website headquartered in Doha that al-Qaradawi helped to found in 1997.
As an adolescent he attended the al-Azhar Institutes for his primary and secondary stages and continued in the Faculty of Theology to obtain an Aliyya certificate (equivalent to a Bachelors degree) in 1953. He also received the ijaza (certification) for teaching from the Faculty of Arabic Language in 1954. In 1960 he obtained the High Preliminary Study (equivalent to Masters degree) from the department of the Sciences of Quran and Hadith at the Faculty of Theology. In 1973 he obtained a Doctorate degree from the same institution. To date he has published over 100 books dealing with various aspects of Islamic life, literature and poetry.
Qaradawi is perceived as a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, although no organizational links are made public. He returned to Cairo on February 18th, 2011, following the ouster of Mubarak, and led the Friday prayers in Tahrir Square. His Friday sermon called on Egyptians to preserve their national unity. He warned that if the military drags its feet on reform, another uprising could begin. Attempting to assure Coptic minorities, he stated that sectarianism was over, and he praised Copts for linking hands to form a human shield protecting Muslims while they prayed during the uprising. Qaradawi reminded the crowds that mainstream Egyptian society takes their faith seriously, and that democracy will almost certainly lead to stronger role for faith in public life.
In a video clip, Qarawdi issued a fatwa that it is permissible to kill Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. He called on the Libyan soldiers and officers not to obey his orders which lead to harm and destruction to his people. He said: “I issue a fatwa that if one of them [a soldier or officer] can fire a bullet and save us from his evil, and save Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and the danger he poses, let him do it.”
However, Qaradawi was described as a hypocrite for his position toward the uprising in Bahrain which differed from his position toward Libyan and Egyptian uprisings. He described the uprising in Bahrain as a sectarian one, which did not represent the demands of the nation as a whole: “what is happening is not like what has happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, but it is the empowerment of some factions via foreign forces on others; thereby it does not include the demands of all of the Bahraini people.”