Voltaire Network

Istanbul v. Al-Azhar


On 26 July 2017, a Conference on Islamic University Education was held. Speaking at this conference, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed that the foundational stones for an Islamic University will be laid in Istanbul.

He has proposed appointing as dean, the star preacher of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, someone whom Saudi Arabia and Egypt have just placed on their list of terrorist leaders.

So just who is Yusuf al-Qaradawi? Some key facts:
• Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser stripped him of his nationality in 1967.
• During the civil war in Algeria, the French Minister of Internal Affairs, Charles Pasqua, considered him to be one of the chief terrorist leaders. Yusuf was then forbidden from staying in France and his books were banned.
• In 2004 Prince Charles appointed him administrator of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
• When preparations for the “Arab Spring” were underway and he was still benefitting from the support of the UK, he became the spiritual adviser of Qatar’s TV channel, al-Jazeera.
• He appealed for the assassination of first Muammar Gaddafi and then Bashar el-Assad.
• In 2015, he declared that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should succeed Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi as Islam’s next caliph.

The Islamic University of Istanbul is a project that aims to set up an alternative to the University of al-Azhar in Cairo, the metaphysical naval of the Islamic world. The latter institution has actually “lost all dignity” (sic) since “students can meet women that attend it” (sic).

Anoosha Boralessa

Voltaire Network

Voltaire, international edition

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