March 30, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 886

Following Reports by MEMRITV: Saudi Cleric Retracts Antisemitic Statements

March 30, 2005
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 886

As part of the official Saudi government TV coverage of Saudi Arabia's counter-terrorism conference in Riyadh, February 5 - February 8th, Saudi Sheikh 'Aed Al-Qarni made statements accusing the Jews and the U.S. of using terrorism. Later, after his statements were translated by MEMRI, Al-Qarni retracted these statements on Saudi TV.

Subsequently, the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on a campaign "spearheaded by MEMRI, against the Saudi Muslim cleric 'Aed Al-Qarni." According to the paper, "MEMRI was also behind another campaign intended to pressure the U.S. administration not to participate in the counter-terrorism conference." [1]

The following are Sheikh Al-Qarni's statements and his retraction. They are followed by other statements by Al-Qarni and a Saudi columnist's view on the matter:

"The First Ones to Kill and Use Terrorism in the World Were the Jews"

In the February 7, 2005 interview on Saudi TV, Al-Qarnisaid: "The first ones to kill and use terrorism in the world were the Jews. Let me quote Henry Manjiro [ sic ] in his book on the history of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln... who freed their slaves, was killed in an act of terror. Kennedy was killed in an act of terror. And the list goes on. They began to act this way 200 years before us. Why don't they go back to their history? The terror attack on the building in Oklahoma was an American act of terror, as you know. The blowing up of the buildings in Washington, opposite the Pentagon, was an American terror attack [sic].

"There are world Zionist circles that want to create illegitimate constitutions for us. According to these constitutions, the killing of Palestinian and Iraqi civilians is permitted or not controversial. However, when one of them [i.e. the Zionists] is targeted in revenge, this is considered terror, and the entire world has to denounce it. It is as if killing them [i.e. the Zionists] is forbidden, while the lives of Muslims are fair game. We reject this unjust distinction. We object to any illegitimate fighting...

"But we won't accept the Zionist rule, or that of the White House - which is, in fact, a Black House. We say we have a religion, and we want to make the world understand this religion. We must rely on the divine source of authority in this matter, and not on what people understand, or on the declaration that 'Whoever is not with us is against us.' Whoever is not with Allah, His people, and His Messenger, is against goodness, virtue and truth." [2]

Al-Qarni's Retraction: "We Must Protect Them in Our Countries as We Protect Ourselves"

In response to the publication of his statements in the MEMRI report and the ensuing criticism of Saudi Arabia, Al-Qarni told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on February 26, 2005, that he had included no calls for violence or for harming Jews in his sermons. He added that his condemnation had been directed toward the Zionist entity in Israel, which fights Muslims and harms Palestinians in their own land.

Nonetheless, he noted: "The Jews and the Christians have the right to conduct trade in Muslim countries and to coexist [with Muslims]." To back this up, Al-Qarni quoted from the Koran [60:8]: "Allah forbids you not, regarding those who do not fight you for [your] faith and do not drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just." He added: "We must protect them in our countries as we protect ourselves."

Al-Qarni denied having said that the Jews were the first to act with violence, stating that they were not, and that other nations preceded them in the use of violence. He said that these accusations were only a few of thousands against Muslims of various ethnicities, and that underlying these claims was a Zionist campaign aimed at distorting the image of Islam. [3]

Editor in Chief of Saudi News: We Need to Create an Organization to Counter MEMRI

Arab News Editor in Chief Khaled Almaeena responded to Al-Qarni's retraction in the English-language Saudi daily Arab News: "…I would like to tell the Sheikh not to worry about what he said. As long as one does not attack another person's religion, it is his or her right to criticize the uncivilized behavior of a people. And uncivilized behavior is a good description of how the Israelis are behaving right now in occupied Palestine...

"These people in MEMRI love to distort the Arab image and try to create a wedge between ordinary Americans and Muslims. They deliberately mistranslate words, misinterpret statements and try to create the idea that our writers and religious leaders have no other purpose than to conduct an anti-Semitic campaign through our media. They have people who listen to them, but MEMRI also has the support of quite a few important and influential officials in Washington…

"The question is, when an organization such as MEMRI can be informed literally in minutes of what we have done, why do we merely sit, complain, wallow in self-pity and claim that others are out to get us? We need to galvanize our efforts and resources to create our own organizations to contain and expose those false preachers and critics of Muslims and Islam. I would welcome any support toward this effort. Without that, the message of the hatemongers will go unchecked and the messages of MEMRI will remain in circulation...." [4]

MEMRITV Archives on Previous Al-Qarni Interviews

I. "Guiding the Brothers of Apes and Pigs to Islam is Better than Killing Them"

It should be noted that in the past Sheikh 'Aed Al-Qarni has harshly criticized both Jews and Christians and has made strong statements in favor of Jihad. Following are some of his previous statements, as published by MEMRI and which can be found on MEMRITV:

On January 9, 2005, Al-Qarnisaid on the Saudi religious TV channel, Iqra TV: "The Prophet Muhammad, as is said in the Hadith, sent Ali to the Jews, the brothers of apes and pigs, to fight them. Ali, being so brave and daring, thought he was sent to behead them. The Prophet Muhammad told him that it was better to guide them to the righteous path than to kill them and that the goal of the mission was to draw the Jews to the religion of Islam so they would convert and increase the number of Muslims. Guiding them to heaven is better than slaughtering them.

"By Allah, if you guide a Jew or a Christian to the righteous path it is better than slaughtering one or two thousand of them on the battlefield." [5]

II. "Throats Must Be Slit and Skulls Must Be Shattered. This is the Path to Victory"

On December 26, 2004 Al-Qarni said on Iqra TV: "Allah be praised, [Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi] was killed by the brothers of apes and pigs, the murderers of the prophets. He fulfilled his duty – he and Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Allah's mercy be upon them. But we Muslims should be rebuked. One billion two hundred million nobodies! We are incapable of taking action, of being useful, of harming the Jews. The most people do today is to verbally protest over the TV channels or to demonstrate. What is the use of this?

"In the story of Joseph there is sacrifice, Jihad, and fear of God. That's what the mujahideen, like Ahmad Yassin and Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, do. How many doctors are there in the Muslim world today? But Allah honored [Al-Rantisi] by having his blood spilled, and he has become an international issue. People have prayed for him, praised him, and Allah has forgiven him. I pray to Allah that He will make the enemies fall into their own trap and that He will destroy the Jews and their helpers from among the Christians and the Communists, and that He will turn them into the Muslims' spoils.

"I praise Jihad, sacrifice, and resistance against the occupiers in Iraq. We curse them, all of them, every night and pray that Allah will annihilate them, tear them apart, and grant us victory over them...

"The Jihad in Falluja is a source of pride. It is astounding: a city of 250,000 residents opposing what is by their standards a superpower – downing their planes, destroying equipment, slaughtering them, taking them hostage, and proclaiming 'Allah Akhbar' from the mosques, and the worshippers and the preacher cursing them in their prayers, and then come others begging for forgiveness, and requesting dialogue and ceasefire and negotiations. Who can say even one word against this true Jihad against these colonialist occupiers?

"We must sacrifice people like Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, Ahmad Yassin, and thousands of others. Houses and young men must be sacrificed. Throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered. This is the path to victory, to shahada, and to sacrifice. Oh brothers, the idolatrous Vietnamese, Cambodians, and South Africans... Nations with no calling or divine law make sacrifices – sacrificing people, blood, and souls. All the more so should we, the nation of Islam." [6]

III. "Jews and Christians Lie When They Say They Are the Sons of God"

On December 12, 2004, Al-Qarnisaid on Iqra TV:"The Jews take pride in something they lie about – the Jews and the Christians. Allah says that the Jews and the Christians say: 'We are the sons of God, and beloved of Him,' and they declare this throughout the world, to modern intellectual streams, to international organizations, and to nations and countries. They say: 'Oh people, we, the Jews and Christians, are the sons of God and beloved of Him. Allah made us His sons.' They are lying, Allah's wrath be upon them.

"If you are truthful, why will Allah burn you in hell for your sins and errors? If you are truthful, and indeed Allah loves you, He would never torture you, because those whom Allah loves, He does not torture. But you are sinners and wrongdoers. You have rejected the messengers and killed the prophets. You will be punished for your lies. You are not prophets or the sons of God." [7]

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 26, 2005.

[2] Channel 1 (Saudi TV), February 7, 2005.

[3] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 26, 2005.

[4] Arab News (Saudi Arabia), March 8, 2005.

[5] Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia), January 9, 2005

[6] Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia), December 26, 2004.

[7] Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia), December 12, 2004.

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