Another story from the archives about influential Muslim Brotherhood figure Qaradawi-the man whom Ken Livingstone invited to London (an act which along with others costs him the support of even Labour Party members). After his defeat, Labour members elected Livingstone to their National Executive.
Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Qaradawi’s pronouncements show clearly that he propagates the dangerous myth that Islam in under attack worldwide. In a recent sermon he said, “how great is the similarity between past and present. We Muslims are besieged by many forces that want to uproot the Muslims under various pretexts…they want to eradicate the nation of Islam.” These words follow a reference to the Beni Qarayzi tribe who allegedly violated the Medina Treaty and whose men were executed and women & children sold into slavery. Qaradawi comments that, “Some Orientalists claim that Mohammed was cruel to the Jews, but this is how determination should be. One must be firm when firmness is warranted, and gentle when gentleness is warranted.”
Qaradawi continues, “we are under a siege that resembles the Siege of the Trench…..but we will be victorious, God willing, despite the traps set by Judaism and the Crusaders and despite the deeds of those who set traps and who deceive.” Why does Qaradawi quote the example of the Qarayzi (and approvingly when other Muslims play this event down or ignore it)? He clearly links events from the past to events happening today and therefore his references to Jews are sinister.In case anyone believes that Islamonline is not Al Qaradawi’s responsibility, it states; “Our goal is for this site to be worthy of your trust. To reach our goal a committee of the major scholars through the Islamic world headed by Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi was formed. Its role is to ensure that nothing on the site violates the fixed principles of the Shariah.”
More of Qaradawi’s pronouncements-
Fatwa June 2002 on organ donation; “It is not permissible to donate it to an apostate as he is no more than a traitor to his religion and his people and thus deserves killing.”
Female circumcision-“While it is not obligatory, whoever finds it serving the interests of his daughters should do it and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world.”
Homosexuality-from The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam Qaradawi’s magisterial work; “Muslim jurists hold different opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same punishment as for fornication, or should both the passive and active participants be put to death?....While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic Society and keep it clean from perverted elements.”
Conservatives will have differing views about Civil Partnerships and associated issues. But these controversies take place within a pluralistic system of democracy based on human rights, not a theocracy. Qaradawi’s language is of extermination. To accept him as a “moderate” is a dangerous self-delusion. In this country we allow unprecedented freedom of religious conscience and political expression. We do not entrench one view for all time. Our constitution is a typically British compromise. Qaradawi is light years away from this and his ruling is clear. “The Islamic Nation was created by God to be the head, to be followed by others. Secular ideas, Zionism, the West, America, want to turn it into a tail and vassal.” On Al Jazeera Qaradawi has stated that jihad can be defensive but also offensive-to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles to this (this is pure Sayyid Qutb, unsurprising since Qaradawi is the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual/political mentor.) Because the world is steeped in Jahaliya (ignorance of the divine message) only jihad can open up the way to preaching, otherwise the Jahaliya (secular, Western, Zionist) system is so strong it drowns out everything else.
Qaradawi’s view of Jihad and the Crusades is illustrative. In the West the Crusades are seen as an embarrassment, for which the Pope has apologised. Richard the Lionheart is still held up as an example of courage, but not of Christianity, and the chivalric elements of the relationship between him and Saladin are used as an example to be emulated today. But Qaradawi et al still revere Saladin as if the Crusades were yesterday (and Saladin’s treachery against his sovereign Nur ad Din and his massacre of the Black Guard are never mentioned). Indeed the tolerant side of Saladin was criticised at the time and Baibars and Al Khalil who were determined to uproot all Christian presence in “Muslim lands” more admired. Saladin, Baibars and Mehmet Fatih require no apology and are all part of the seamless robe of Islamic history, as relevant today as then. (See Landmarks of Jihad a book available in many Muslim bookshops and on the web which includes Uhud, Yarmouk, Qadasiya, Manzikert and Constantinople-most of them battles from the Arab/Turkish conquests).
Qaradawi completely denies the UN’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist, describing it as, “a society of invaders and plunderers of our land who came to occupy Palestine and settle it.” Note that Qaradawi is not referring here to the West Bank, but to all of “Palestine”-all of the state of Israel. He repeats the calumny that the Jews plunder and damage Muslim sites (on the contrary; Arab countries and the Palestinians have destroyed/vandalised many Jewish sites including Joseph’s tomb, vandalised the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and all of East Jerusalem’s synagogues after 1948,). Actually, Israel allows free access to Islamic sites and the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount is under Muslim authority (whereas Jews were denied freedom to worship at the Western Wall or at Abraham’s Tomb in Hebron when Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank. Joseph’s Tomb at Nablus was destroyed by a Palestinian mob while PA police looked on. Pamphlets circulate in this country alleging that the Israelis are undermining Al Aqsa, repeating the mufti’s propaganda which led to the 1929 massacres.
Another example of Qaradawi’s treatment of yesterday (3,000 years ago) as today is seen in his “Sharia and Life” show on Al Jazeera (May 15th 2004) in which he accused America of spreading violence through the world in films, tv series and cowboy films. He quotes the Torah as saying that when Jews enter a country and offer peace, if the inhabitants agree they become slaves, whereas if they refuse they are destroyed. This is clearly a reference to Joshua’s herem and relates it to 1948.
Even where Qaradawi has truly been selectively or misquoted a further examination shows how there is no ancient or modern world to him. Reported as saying that Islam would conquer Rome and Europe, he did stress that it could be by preaching, that Islam needed an army of teachers and preachers. Europe, “will see that it suffers from materialistic culture and will see a way out, it will seek a lifeboat.” Europeans will convert to Islam and then will spread it more widely than “we ancient Muslims.” So far so good; Christians and other faiths bemoan the spiritual vacuum in modern society. Missionaries from Africa and South America come to preach and seek conversions in Europe, from the Hari Krishna sect to Louis Palau. But Qaradawi sees this all of a piece with the “military preaching” of the extension of the Islamic Empire which knocked “several times on the door of Athens” (not forgetting Vienna). We can actually describe much, but not all, of this conflict in terms of power politics; the Ottoman/Valois alliance of mutual benefit against the Hapsburgs to allow defence against Safavid Persia does not have to be seen in mainly religious terms. But Qaradawi does not do this.
Qaradawi sees all this history as that of justified jihad. He would not allow an uninterrupted preaching movement by Christians, Krishnaites, Buddhists etc in the Muslim World. This would be described as imperialism and a conspiracy against Islam-which must be the head, never the tail. What he expects from Muslims and non-Muslims is not equal. He is a Muslim supremacist. The fact is that there are virtually no Jews left in Muslim countries. All non-Muslim religions are banned in Saudi Arabia, and Shia Muslims condemned as heretics and persecuted. From making up 25% of the Arab countries’ population, Christians are now 8%. Since the Palestinian Authority took over the Christian populations of Nazareth and Bethlehem have plummeted. Ironically, considering the dispute over Jerusalem’s boundaries, Arafat gave Bethlehem & its council a Muslim majority by changing its boundaries to include a nearby refugee camp. The Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs report “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society” shows widespread discrimination and treatment of Christian as second-class citizens. Anti-racist policies in the UK must address this lack of equivalence. All oppression, racism, discrimination and injustice must be tackled, no matter which religious tradition commits them.
In July 2005 the FCO gave its view on whether Qaradawi should be excluded from the UK by the Home Office, having previously shared a platform with Ken Livingstone and being defended by him against Peter Tatchell’s dossier. The DG Political commented that, “Having individuals like Qaradawi on our side should be our aim. Excluding them won’t help.” Reviewing Qaradawi’s full record and views, it is unclear how an Islamist supremacist can ever be “on our side”-on the side of a tolerant, pluralistic British society. Disturbingly, this memo was written by Mokbul Ali, a friend of the MCB’s Iqbal Sacranie.
The memo’s main reason for not excluding Qaradawi was that his views on suicide bombing in Israel and “resistance” in Iraq are shared by the majority of Muslims in the Middle East and the UK. Qaradawi did condemn the London bombings, but praises suicide bombs in Israel against civilians because Israeli children will grow up to be soldiers. He signed the Amman declaration in defence of mainstream Islam, but clearly Qaradawi regards his views in toto as representing mainstream Islam.
Other reasons include: Qaradawi’s popularity, and that it would give support to Al Qaeda’s propaganda of a Western vendetta against Muslims and would undermine “Qaradawi’s anti-terrorism message” (which clearly is selective and does not include Jews and Coalition forces). However controversial the Coalition role in Iraq is, it is craven to accept a figure who is encouraging people to murder our soldiers and contractors. Indeed, the FCO advice legitimises against Jews, Israel, and our forces.
It seems that government policy is to make Qaradawi “the first port of call when encouraging statements against terrorism and the killing of Muslim civilians in Iraq, as requested recently by the Iraq Policy unit.” The government believes it has a relationship with Qaradawi as it had with Abu Qutada and others buiding an alleged covenant of security in the disastrous run up to the London bombs. But Qaradawi’s record of anti-semitic Muslim supremacism shows clearly that there is nothing to engage with and the FCO is under a dangerous self-delusion. The Metropolitan Special Branch Muslim Contact Unit has commented that, “Sheikh Al Qaradawi has a positive Muslim community impact in the fight against Al Qaeda propaganda in the UK and the wider Muslim world.” The memo concludes, “By taking such action (excluding him) the UK could turn mainstream Muslim opinion further against the UK and could encourage some to move to violence against British targets.” The FCO advice is given out of fear-that excluding a preacher of hate will lead to “retaliation” (by definition justified) by Muslims. It is actually an insult to Muslims, as well as being cowardice. Is this appeasement really what our country has come to?
Revealingly, the memo refers to the Livingstone visit and dossier as compiled by the Board of Deputies and based on info from MEMRI-founded by an ex Colonel in Israeli Military Intelligence and that “MEMRI is regularly criticised for selective translation of Arabic reports.” Actually, many people complained, with detailed evidence, about Qaradawi’s extremism. Why does the FCO single out a Jewish lobby group? This theme continues; “his exclusion could also fuel media reports of conspiracy theories-especially about the involvement of Jewish lobby groups and their influence on British Government policy.” The government thus refuses to challenge these conspiracy theories and gives them credence by not doing so. The material MEMRI translates is in the public domain and can be checked for accuracy. It does feature both “extremists” and “moderates”-including the views of “liberal” Muslims. This “regular criticism” is by the likes of Livingstone, Galloway, MPAC, MAB and MCB and others in the Red-Green opportunist alliance. Much of the material about Qaradawi comes from the Islamonline website which he oversees. Among the reports MEMRI carried is the petition signed by 2,500 Muslim figures describing Qaradawi as one of the “Sheikhs of Death” responsible for creating the climate in which Muslims are fooled into becoming suicide bombers. These Muslims really are moderates, not pseudo ones. The FCO and government spurn these moderate voices and align themselves with one of the Sheikhs of Death.
The FCO notes that, “he has himself faced criticism for calling for greater liberty for women in Islamic societies.” On Islamonline is a fatwa by Qaradawi himself which stresses that a married woman (meaning virtually all women) should not work outside the home unless forced to by economic necessity (although there is another fatwa allowing female nurses and doctors to only treat women where possible. He also defends wife-beating “lightly” as long as it is not on the face. Any extremist member of the 57 varieties of Trotskyite will be ferociously criticised as a “splitter” or “traitor” by other groups. This happens in extremist religion too. Just because Islamists even more extreme than him criticise Qaradawi does not mean he is moderate.
Qaradawi’s real views on Jihad can be found in his book Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase (1990)-the title of which reads like that of a Marxist revolutionary tract. In this he supported the Khartoum Government (the National Islamic Front, based on the Muslim Brotherhood) against the “Christian racist rebellion which seeks to remove Sudan from the Muslim Nation”, stood with Eritrea against Christian/Marxist Ethiopia which allegedly wanted to keep the Eritrean Muslims as feudal serfs, supported the Muslim Moro separatists against the Christian government which he claimed wanted to annihilate them, was against Israeli plans to bring in Russian Jews to the occupied territories to realise the old dream of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates and then to the Hijaz, Medina and Mecca as a later ambition. This is vile stuff. All of these sentiments are helping to create the conspiracy theories which the memo shows the FCO is unwilling to challenge.
More support for conspiracy theories and anti-semitic myths can be seen on Islamonline. “More challenges to 9/11 circulating myths,” 24.11.05, despite its title actually promotes claims that electronic demolition made the Twin Towers fall. A 19.07.05 story claims that Netenyahu was warned in advance of the London bombs (like the 4,000 Jews who supposedly did not turn up to work before 9/11) and the 23/12/05 lead story “The Neocons and Holocaust II” claimed that a group of Jewish intellectuals has always been in control of the Whitehouse, that the Jews are trying to build a Greater Israel and that America’s Iraq policy is designed for Israel’s benefit.
Qaradawi’s opinion of Jews ought to be well known since it is outlined on his website and has received comment on many blogs. In “Jews as depicted in the Quran,” Qaradawi refers a questioner approvingly to a fatwa issued by Sheikh Attiyah Sakr, former head of Al Azar’s fatwa committee about the Jews “bad qualities and the heinous acts they used to commit.” The one positive comment (in fact there are many positive comments in the Quran) is that the Jews received a scripture from God who favoured them above all peoples-setting them up in the article as people who rejected this. Twenty negatives follow: fabricating God’s word, loving to tell lies, disobeying God’s commands, disputing and quarrelling, hiding the truth and misleading, rebelling against the Prophet, hypocritical, preferring their own interests to the truth, wishing evil on others, gleeful as others suffer, arrogant, taking usury, distorting God’s truth, killing innocent people, merciless and heartless, never keeping promises, competing to sin, cowardice, miserly, distortion (again). The questioner then politely thanks the sheikh for this erudite answer.
It seems inconceivable that government departments are unaware of Qaradawi’s true record, but self-delusion runs deep. The FCO is desperate to find an influential Muslim moderate scholar. It parallels the approach to Nazi Germany where the FO saw some Nazis (including, incredibly, Goering) as moderates who could be influenced towards sensible policies by appeasement of what was seen as Germany’s legitimate grievances while ignoring the agenda behind them. We (or at least the FCO) never learn.