Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Qaradawi dies

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent Sunni scholar and spiritual leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, has died aged 96, his Twitter account announced Monday.

Qaradawi was imprisoned several times in his home country of Egypt over his links to the Brotherhood. He was naturalised as a citizen of Qatar, where he had been based since 1961.

“Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi has died after dedicating his life to making Islam known and defending his community,” said the tweet on his official account. It did not provide details on the cause of his death.

Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood established itself in the mid-20th century as the main opposition movement in Egypt, as well as in other countries in the region.

Cairo blacklisted the movement as a “terrorist” organisation in 2013, and has since jailed thousands of its members and supporters and executed dozens.

The Islamist group has consistently denied any link to violence.

Qaradawi’s daughter, Ola, was detained in Egypt for four and a half years over her links to the Brotherhood. She was released last year but still faces charges.

The cleric led the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni association, and the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network regularly broadcast his sermons.

He also set up IslamOnline, a website that issues guidance for Muslims on everything from love and sex to ways of offering prayers.

In recent years, Qatar has moved to reconcile with the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief led the 2013 overthrow of late president Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member.

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