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Covid-19: Senior cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi contracts virus

Tweet from cleric's official account says Qaradawi, who is in his 90s, is receiving medical care and doing well
Qaradawi is regarded as one of Islam's top thinkers, and his religious show on Doha-based Al Jazeera television was watched by millions until around 10 years ago (AFP)

Senior cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar and is chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, has contracted Covid-19, his official Twitter account said.

The tweet on Saturday said Qaradawi, who is in his 90s, was receiving medical care and doing well.

An Egyptian scholar who has Qatari citizenship, Qaradawi was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in absentia in 2015 along with other Egyptians said to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in a case relating to a 2011 mass jail break.

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Qaradawi has rejected the ruling and denies any involvement.

He has long had a prominent role within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, although he has repeatedly stated that he is no longer a member and twice turned down offers for an official role in the organisation

Qaradawi's presence in Qatar and criticism of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been cited by some as one of the causes of the rift between Doha and other Arab states that led them to boycott Qatar in 2017.

The cleric supported the Arab Spring and defended former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood and was overthrown by Sisi in a coup in 2013.

Qaradawi is regarded as one of Islam's top thinkers, and his religious show on Doha-based Al Jazeera television was watched by millions until around 10 years ago.

In 2018, Interpol removed Qaradawi from its "wanted" list after finding that cases brought against him by Egypt and Iraq were "politically motivated".

The cleric's televised Friday sermons went off the air before the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which have all banned the Muslim Brotherhood.

In January, the four states agreed to end the dispute with Qatar under a US-backed deal.