Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi has resigned from the governing body of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, accusing the top Sunni seat of learning of supporting Egypt’s military-installed government.
“I submit my resignation,” Qaradawi wrote on Twitter and his Facebook page on Monday, accusing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, of “abusing the authority of the office to support the military coup.”
Egyptian-born Qaradawi, who has been based in Qatar since he was stripped of his citizenship decades ago, has been an outspoken critic of the army’s July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The cleric, who retains huge influence through his regular appearances as a commentator on Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, issued a religious edict, or fatwa, calling on Egyptians to restore Morsi to “his legitimate post.”
“We have waited for the sheikh of Al-Azhar to return to the correct path and to disassociate himself from the tyrant regime,” he said in Monday’s posting.
Qaradawi, now 86, was jailed several times in the 1950s under the rule of president Gamal Abdel Nasser and left for Qatar in 1961.
He returned to the land of his birth 50 years later and led mass prayers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square shortly after president Hosni Mubarak was forced out in February 2011 in the face of the mass protests of the Arab Spring.