It may not be a well known fact in the West, but global Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yussuf Qaradawi is not a fan of Shiism. In recent years, Qaradawi has been peddling the idea that Shiites are following a nefarious plan to convert Sunni Muslim countries. In 2008, Qaradawi issued a warning during an interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Misri al-Youm newspaper about a Shiite conspiracy to infiltrate Sunni countries.
The following month, the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a leading forum of clerics, met in Qatar and released a statement backing Qaradawi’s warning.
The statement called on Shiites to desist from efforts to convert Sunnis to Shiite Islam and placed the blame for rising Shiite-Sunni tensions squarely on Iran.
“Organized attempts by the minority sect to proselytize in areas where the other is dominant should stop, as part of mutual respect between the sects," the Union said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran should bear its responsibility to end sectarian strife."
On the Internet, militant Salafi jihadis, who have diverged from the Muslim Brotherhood on some levels, have produced an orgy of hatred against Shiites, with hundreds of web pages dedicated to mocking Shiite beliefs and calling for violence against Shiites. According to senior terrorism expert Dr. Ely Karmon, of the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center''s Institute for Counter Terrorism, an exchange of letters between the late al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Osama Bin Laden, showed that al-Qaeda had come to accept Zarqawi’s view that Shiites are infidels and represented a priority target for jihad. My recently published book, Virtual Caliphate, explores al-Qaeda''s virtual presence, and proposes that jihadis have set up an online state to make up for their lack of sovereignty.