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Egypt revolution unfinished, Qaradawi tells Tahrir masses

Leading Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi returned from Qatar to rally hundreds of thousands at Tahrir Square today in his first public speech since 1981.

Thousands gather in Tahrir square for Friday prayers and a demonstration in Cairo on Feb. 18.

Enric Marti/AP

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Editor's note: Updated on Feb. 18 at 11:49 a.m.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leading Egyptian Islamic theologian popularized by Al Jazeera, returned to Cairo today to deliver a stirring but overtly political sermon, calling on Egyptians to preserve national unity as they press for democratic progress.

“Don’t let anyone steal this revolution from you – those hypocrites who will put on a new face that suits them,” he said, speaking to at least 200,000 who gathered for Friday prayers in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's uprising. “The revolution isn’t over. It has just started to build Egypt … guard your revolution.”

The massive turnout and Mr. Qaradawi's warning that the revolution is not complete demonstrate that if the military drags its feet on reform, another uprising could begin. And while his sermon was nonsectarian and broadly political, the turnout was also a reminder that political Islam is likely to play a larger role in Egypt than it has for decades.

Waving flags under the afternoon sun, the protesters in Tahrir today vowed to press on, assembling a list of 35 demands for what they say is Part II of the revolution.

“Egyptian people are like the genie who came out of the lamp and who have been in prison for 30 years,” says Hoda Youssry, adding that only one of their demands – Mubarak's ouster – has been met so far. “We are not going back in until all our demands are met.”

RELATED: Think you know the Middle East? Take our geography quiz.


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