Radical Islamist Yussuf al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, spoke at Tahrir Square today. He called for the Epyptian army to open the border crossing with Gaza.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Mr. al-Qaradawi’s return on Thursday night to Egypt from Qatar, where he spent years in exile, is the latest example of how Egypt’s long stagnant political scene is being enlivened by an ideologically diverse array of leaders, who had been kept in check by Mr. Mubarak. Mr. al-Qaradawi is close to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
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The graying 84-year-old sheikh, speaking from a chair on stage in the square, told Egyptians that the revolution must continue and called on the army to free all political prisoners still in detention, to dissolve the cabinet of ministers appointed by Mr. Mubarak, and to transfer authority to a civilian government as soon as possible.
He also called on the military to open Egypt’s border crossing with Gaza immediately to allow free passage of goods and people into and out of the territory, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.
Mr. al-Qaradawi’s call is likely to increase popular pressure on the military government to ease the siege of Gaza, which was strictly enforced by Mr. Mubarak. But even if the military regime resists such calls in the short term, it is an indicator of the direction in which Egyptian popular sentiment may push a future democratically elected government.