The following are excerpts from speeches delivered by Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al and Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi at a conference honoring Al-Qaradhawi. The speeches aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 16, 2007.
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Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al: "The support we got from Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi is different from the support of anybody else, because of his religious status, his status in terms of morale, and his ability to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the issues of the nation, particularly the issue of Palestine. This support was of great value to us, to the Palestinian people, in the first and second Intifadas, and in all matters pertaining to the Palestinian cause. He has publicly declared his support for the resistance factions, unequivocally and without any hesitation or embarrassment, without fawning over anyone. From day one to the present, the sheikh, may Allah reward him, has not hesitate to support the jihad and the resistance, and to support the fighters, and the resistance factions. One of the most notable manifestations of this support was when we relied – after Allah – on his support of martyrdom operations. He never hesitated to issue rulings in support of these operations, and there were times when we were in dire need of these rulings."
"This is because some of the nation's religious scholars – and we do not underestimate them, for they are good people... But due to a certain confusion, they had dissenting views on the martyrdom operations, and this caused us great embarrassment. However, in his unequivocal fatwa, the sheikh, may Allah reward him, considered martyrdom operations to be the most noble level of jihad. That was unparalleled support for the people of Palestine, because, brothers and sisters, you cannot imagine how difficult it is psychologically for a young Palestinian man or woman to sacrifice themselves or what is most dear to them, only to encounter a conflict in their minds and hearts as to whether they are on the path of righteousness, or whether they are committing a religious violation."
"I want to make it clear to the West and to the German people, which is still being blackmailed because of what Nazism did to the Zionists, or to the Jews. I say that what Israel did to the Palestinian people is many times worse than what Nazism did to the Jews, and there is exaggeration, which has become obsolete, regarding the issue of the Holocaust. We do not deny the facts, but we will not give in to extortion by exaggeration. As for the Zionist holocaust against the Palestinian people, and against the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nation – this is a holocaust that is being perpetrated in broad daylight, with the coverage of the media of globalization. Nobody can deny it or claim that it is being exaggerated."
Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: "I support the Palestinian cause. I support the resistance and the jihad. I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. I oppose the peace that Israel and America wish to dictate. This peace is an illusion. I support martyrdom operations, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back... What am I supposed to do? This great terrorist next to me will get me into trouble... He gave me a picture of Jerusalem and of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and showed me respect – that's it, my guilt has been proven."
"Our brothers in Palestine were forced to resort to martyrdom operations. The divine destiny is just, and so it gave these brothers something the enemy lacks. Give them planes, tanks, missiles, and smart bombs, and they won't have to use martyrdom operations. They use martyrdom operations because they don't have all those things. Their enemy is bombing them from above and below, right left, and center, and all they want is [to sacrifice] their own lives. The Palestinian man or woman booby-trap themselves – they turn themselves into human bombs – and sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah, in order to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. "