March 19, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2277

Scandinavian Islamic Groups Distance Themselves from Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, Following MEMRI Translation of His Statements on Al-Jazeera TV Calling Holocaust "Divine Punishment" For Jews," Warning "Allah Willing, The Next Time Will Be At The Hand of the Believers"

March 19, 2009
Special Dispatch No. 2277

In response to MEMRI TV's February 1, 2009 release of a translated and subtitled clip capturing prominent Sunni sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi on Al-Jazeera TV in January 2009 calling the Holocaust "divine punishment" for the Jews and warning that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers [i.e. Muslims]," [1] and also saying that he would "shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews," [2] it was reported that Muslim Imams and Islamic groups in Scandinavia have distanced themselves from the remarks and are questioning association with Al-Qaradhawi.

Media outlets and blogs worldwide reported on MEMRI's publication of Al-Qaradhawi's statements and on reactions to them.

The following are the latest developments in the controversy.

(To view this MEMRI TV clip, visit ; to view the MEMRI TV page on Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, visit . TO VIEW THIS CLIP AND OTHERS, YOU MUST LOG IN/REGISTER FOR MEMRI TV, AT REGISTRATION IS FREE OF CHARGE.)

Aftenposten: Islamic Council of Norway Head Says Council Will Raise Matter with Al-Qaradhawi's European Council for Fatwa and Research

On February 16, the Norwegian newspapers Dagbladet and Aftenpost reported that the Islamic Council of Norway had, on that same date, denounced Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi's statements on Al-Jazeera TV as "unacceptable." [3]

According to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPE), Aftenposten quoted Islamic Council of Norway head Senaid Kobilica as saying that the council also planned to raise the matter with the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which Al-Qaradhawi heads.

Dagbladet quoted Kobilica as saying, "If it's [like this] that Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi honors the Holocaust, I think it's unacceptable from somebody who is an important religious reference for many Muslims. The Islamic Council of Norway will take up this issue with other scholars who sit in the European Council for Fatwa and Research."

He added, "We let nobody dictate how we Muslims should [live] here in Europe. The statement hurts and provokes me."

Council Head Tells Dagbladet: "My Father-In-Law Was In a Concentration Camp in Bosnia... We Had Massacres..."

The paper said that Kobilica had conveyed a protest and hopes that it produces results. "I contacted a member of the council, Bosnia's chief Mufti, who will take up the issue in the next meeting of the council. I hope he'll report that this is a completely unacceptable statement," it reported him as saying.

According to Dagbladet, Kobilica, as a Bosnian Muslim, has experienced war, and quoted him as saying, "My father-in-law was in a concentration camp in Bosnia in the 90s. We had massacres with several thousand people in the city of Srebrenica. Therefore we know how sad it is when somebody supports mass murder."

Council Head: People Who Come to Europe, Such As Al- Qaradawi, Must Watch How They Express Themselves; Norway Council Doesn't Always Follow European Fatwas Such As Death For Homosexuals

Dagbladet also stated that, according to Kobilica, people who come to Europe, such as the Egyptian-born Sunni Muslim Al-Qaradawi, must watch how they express themselves and use dialogue instead of attacking in debates. Kobilica explained how the Islamic Council of Norway doesn't always follow fatwas from the European Fatwa Council, for example, the council's wish for a death sentence for homosexuals. "We strongly reject that. Everybody has a right to live life in freedom and peace... As Norwegian Muslims, we want to show a different openness," he said.

Danish Imam: I Don't Support Al-Qaradhawi's View; It Can't Be Justified By Gaza Debate

DPE reported, also on February 16, that other Islamic leaders in Scandinavia had also distanced themselves from Al-Qaradhawi's comments, including Danish Imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen. It said that Pederson had told the Danish news agency Ritzau that he did not support Al-Qaradhawi's view and that this view could not be justified by the debate on the recent Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Dagens Nyheter: Swedish Muslim Council Chairman Says European Muslims Look Up To Al-Qaradhawi - But Want Nothing To Do With These Statements

On February 16, 2009, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that Swedish and Norwegian Muslims were distancing themselves from Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi. The paper said that Swedish Muslim Council chairman Mahmoud Aldebe said that it was a sensitive question when many European Muslims look up to Al-Qaradhawi as a person but want nothing to do with these statements, and that Muslims can see the difference between Jews as a people and Israel as a state.


[1] "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them - even though they exaggerated this issue - he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers." (Al-Jazeera TV, January 30, 2009)

[2] "To conclude my speech, I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you." (Al-Jazeera TV, January 28, 2009)

[3] "Leading Sunni Islamist Al-Qaradhawi Denounced by European Muslims After MEMRI Exposes Him Celebrating The Holocaust On Al-Jazeera TV," February 23, 2009,

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