Visiting Gaza, Hitler-Praising Qatari Cleric Qaradawi Tells Hamas: Destroy Israel “Inch by Inch” thru “Jihad to Death”

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s most influential Muslim preachers who regularly prays for the annihilation of the Jewish people, visited Gaza this week in a show of his support for the territory’s Hamas terrorist rulers. He claims to have previously been in Gaza in 1958. The octogenarian televangelist vowed “jihad” until death and said Israel had “never once been a Jewish land.”

Qaradawi is the world’s the leading islamic scholar sanctioning Hamas suicide bombings in the name of Islam, and recently refused to participate in an Arab-sponsored interfaith conference because it included Jews. Covering the virulently anti-Semitic, terrorist-supporting speech Qaradawi delivered in Gaza, the Associated Press reports:

Qaradawi said Thursday that “this land has never once been a Jewish land. Palestine is for the Arab Islamic nation.”

Reuters carried this:

“Our wish should be that we carry out Jihad to death,” said Qaradawi, who has gained a large following in the Muslim world thanks to regular appearances on Al Jazeera television. “We should seek to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, inch by inch,” he said, backing the position of Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist.

Video of Qaradawi’s Gaza press conference with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is available online in Arabic. As I wrote last year in the journal Middle East Quarterly:

[Qaradawi] regularly froths about the insidious character of Shiites, Americans, and especially Jews. “Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one,” he said on air in 2009. Elsewhere, Qaradawi praised Hitler’s treatment of the Jews (“even though they exaggerated the issue“) and stressed the führer’s regret at not finishing the job.

Qaradawi – widely considered the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual godfather – has lived in Qatar, Al Jazeera’s home base, for decades. His visit comes six months after that of the emir of the Gulf nation – the first official visit by a head of state since Hamas’ violent 2007 takeover of Gaza from Fatah. As the journalist Jeffrey Goldberg observed in a withering Bloomberg column last week, Qatar backs hard-line Islamists in the Palestinian territories, Syria, Egypt and beyond while still insisting it’s committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace, not to mention Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Mali fighting the French, and in Syria.

Turkey’s Hamas-supporting prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims he also plans to visit Gaza later this month immediately following his visit to the White House — despite firm objections from the United States and the Palestinian Authority, not to mention the acute insult and embarrassment such a trip would represent to President Obama, who has made clear that it would be inappropriate and counterproductive.

The Wall Street Journal reported recenlty on the growing rift between Arab allies Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and what sources tell TheTower.org is now increasingly referred to inside the U.S. government as the “Sunni Extremist Block,” of Qatar, Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood Egypt, and HAMAS in Gaza, plus the Al Qaeda-linked islamist terrorists in Syria that the Sunni Extremist Block is supporting:

“We have pretty fundamental disagreements on policy. We simply believe in different philosophies,” said a senior Arab official from this second faction in describing his government’s relationship with Qatar. “We believe in secularism and they support political Islam,” he added. “We believe in picking sides; they believe in picking both sides.”

The 87-year-old remains a trustee of Oxford University’s Center for Islamic Studies despite being banned from Britain since 2008 – and the United States since 1999 – for remarks supporting terrorism. His name has also appeared on federal tax forms as a board member at the Islamic Society of Boston, the mosque attended by the suspects in this month’s Boston Marathon terror attack.

Earlier this year he defended Islam’s death penalty for apostasy, and recommended crucifixion as a good way for doing the job.

Below: footage from two weeks ago of the octogenarian explaining his withdrawal from an interfaith conference because Jews were in attendance.

[Photo: Yusef Al-Qaradawi and HAMAS Chief Ismael Haniyeh ]