WASHINGTON -- Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been called the most influential Islamic cleric in the world.
During the past year, he's used his clout to promote the so-called Arab Spring.
For al-Qaradawi, the rise of radical Islamic governments across the Middle East and North Africa means a giant step towards his vision of a united Islamic super-state -- or caliphate -- governed by Sharia law.
The 86-year-old Egyptian native pushes this agenda through his website, IslamOnline, and his top-rated Al-Jazeera program, titled "Sharia and Life," which reaches tens of millions of Muslims each week.
"Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is more than just an ideologue. He is also a strategist," Middle East expert Walid Phares told CBN News.
Phares, author of the book The Coming Revolution, said al-Qaradawi sets the tone for the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide.
"We're talking about a Lenin here -- a jihadi Lenin who controls the flow of the ideology but also gives the nod with regards to general strategic direction," Phares said.
"He's the mentor today for the Muslim Brotherhood," he added. "And the MB's today are about to take over in at least three to four countries in the Middle East. "
Just one week after protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of power, al-Qaradawi returned to his homeland following a 30-year exile.
He led Friday prayers for a crowd of more than 1 million in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where he called for Muslims to re-conquer Jerusalem.
Phares compared it to the Ayatollah Khomenei's return to Iran in 1979.
"Qaradawi came to Egypt to change the Arab Spring into a Caliphate Spring," Phares told CBN News.
Al-Qaradawi's fatwas, or religious rulings, have endorsed the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq and suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
He has shown a special animosity towards Jews, and not just those living in Israel.
During a 2009 sermon he raged, "Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people...Do not spare a single one of them...Count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one."
Egyptian dissident Cynthia Farahat of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., told CBN News that Westerners who call al-Qaradawi a moderate ignore his words.
"Genocide. That's the main message: genocide," Farahat said.
"He (Al-Qaradawi) went as far as saying he wants to kill Jews with his own hands, with his own bare hands while sitting on his wheelchair," she said.
Yet according to a recent report in The Hindu, one of India's largest daily newspapers, the Obama administration is using al-Qaradawi as a mediator in secret negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban.
An Obama administration official told CBN News the report is "not accurate."
The administration has acknowledged, however, that it is engaged in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties.
Al-Qaradawi has ambitions beyond the Middle East. He said Muslims will one day conquer America and Europe as well -- not overnight, but gradually, through immigration and proselytizing.