The arguments over Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi are well-trodden ground. Since his visit to London in 2004, his views on suicide bombing, women and gays – in soundbite form at least – have been committed to memory by those who oppose the alliance between parts of the left and radical Islamism. Ken Livingstone’s physical and political embrace of Qaradawi, and his wider strategy of courting Islamist groups from amongst London’s Muslim population, did him much damage in the eyes of many Londoners, particularly on the political left, and may well have played a role in his removal as London’s mayor. Despite the fact that Qaradawi is currently excluded from entering the United Kingdom, he still has the potential to influence attitudes via his writings, his website and other media. If only for this reason, it is important to fully understand the broader vision behind Qaradawi’s views.
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