Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Youssef al-Qaradawi speaks during a news conference in Doha.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian sheikh who is considered Sunni Islam's preeminent scholar and religious arbiter, says that he no longer supports the tactic of suicide bombing.
In a post on his web site, al-Qaradawi wrote that the use of suicide bombers was only permissible to those living under Israeli occupation.
However, since Palestinians are now able to hit Israel with rockets, missiles, and mortars, the use of suicide bombers, which is euphemistically known in the Arab and Muslim world as "martyrdom operations," is superfluous and unnecessary.
Al-Qaradawi's post on suicide bombings comes in the wake of accusations that the cleric is sympathetic to Islamists in Egypt opposed to the military regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The cleric has accused Egyptian authorities of taking his remarks out of context and distorting his statements.
Pro-Sisi television stations have aired al-Qaradawi's sermons and speeches, though the cleric says that the clips are edited. Some networks have accused him of supporting suicide bombings by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Sisi regime, a charge that he has denied.
Al-Qaradawi says that while he supported the use of suicide bombings in the past exclusively by Palestinians due to their extraordinary circumstances, this was not his opinion today.