PA: Muslim cleric holds forged passport

Hamas gives Egyptian cleric diplomatic passport; PA leadership in Ramallah critical of cleric for deepening Palestinian divisions.

Yusuf Qaradawi arrives for Friday prayers_370 (photo credit: Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters)
Yusuf Qaradawi arrives for Friday prayers_370
(photo credit: Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority announced over the weekend that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s leading Islamic scholars, is carrying a forged Palestinian passport.
Qaradawi was granted the Palestinian diplomatic passport by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh during his two-day visit to the Gaza Strip, which ended on Friday.
The PA leadership, which had opposed Qaradawi’s visit, said that it has notified all countries that the Egyptian-born scholar was carrying a forged passport.
The PA Interior Ministry in Ramallah called upon all countries “to take legal measures to seize the holder of the passport in accordance with international law.”
An official in Ramallah was quoted on Saturday as saying that Interpol has contacted the PA leadership to ask for more details about the passport.
Qaradawi arrived in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday at the head of a delegation of 50 top Islamic scholars from 14 countries.
The visit drew sharp criticism from the PA leadership in Ramallah, whose representatives accused Qaradawi of working to deepen Palestinian divisions by recognizing Hamas as the legitimate government in the Gaza Strip.
During the visit, Qaradawi expressed full support for Hamas. He expressed opposition to “giving up one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Qaradawi called for Palestinian unity and refrained from directly attacking PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas said the PA’s call for confiscating Qaradawi’s passport was “rude.”
A statement by Hamas said the call was issued by a PA ministry that “derives its legitimacy from Israeli occupation.”
Ezat al-Risheq, a senior Hamas official, expressed regret over the PA’s opposition to Qaradawi’s visit. The scholar was granted a Palestinian passport in honor of his “big and leading role in serving Palestine and the causes of the Islamic nation,” he said.
Risheq said the PA’s stance on the passport was unjustified and harmful to all Palestinians and would deepen divisions among the Palestinians.