memri
December 21, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2709

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi on Christmas Celebrations in Muslim Countries: 'I Wanted To Warn My People That This Is Prohibited, Shameful, And Inappropriate... Ignorance Of What Islam Obliges Us To Do...;' '[Can] Muslims in Europe and America... Celebrate Ramadan... in the City Centers[?]'

December 21, 2009
Special Dispatch No. 2709

In a recent Friday sermon from Qatar by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, he condemned Christmas celebrations in Muslim countries, saying that they were forbidden and stating that the Muslim nation is abandoning its Muslim identity. He also commented on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, calling it undeserved.

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, Sunni Islam's most prominent cleric, is head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), and spiritual guide for many other Islamist organizations across the world, including the Muslim Brotherhood. He has been barred from entering the U.S., the U.K, and other western countries.[1] In recent years, he has called for Islam to conquer Rome;[2] in the past few months alone, he has threatened a boycott of Switzerland,[3] come out against interfaith dialogue,[4] and issued a fatwa stating that Iraqis must not become U.S. citizens.[5]

Following are excerpts from Al-Qaradhawi's sermon about Christmas, which aired on Qatar TV.[6]

· To view this clip, visit http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/257/0/2300.htm.

· To view the MEMRI TV page for Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, visit http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/589.htm.

"What is Going On in the Shops and On the Streets of Doha – All These Celebrations of the So-Called Birth of Jesus [!]"

Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "Brothers, I would like to talk to you about two issues. First, I would like to talk about what is going on in our countries these days. I could almost ask what kind of society we are living in – Muslim or Christian? What is going on in the shops and on the streets of Doha – all these celebrations of the so-called birth of Jesus, the so-called Christmas? It is as if we are living in a Christian European country!"[...]

"The Nation is Abandoning Its Muslim Identity – Islam Wants Us to Maintain Our Islamic Uniqueness"

"We do not even celebrate [the birth] of the Prophet Muhammad, but we celebrate Christmas?! Christmas trees, four or five meters high, are erected in shops, which are owned by families known to be Muslim. What is this?! It means that the nation is abandoning its Muslim identity. Islam wants us to maintain our Islamic uniqueness."

Can "The Muslims in Europe and America... Celebrate Ramadan and the Muslim Holidays in the City Centers [?]"

"They prevent us from building minarets... I was just talking about that last week. They banned the building of minarets, and they are about to ban the building of mosques. 41% of the people polled in France [support] preventing the building of mosques, while 47% support the banning of minarets as well as a mosques. Even the mosques...

"Are the Muslims in Europe and America – and there are millions of them in some countries – able to celebrate Ramadan and the Muslim holidays in the city centers, like some people do in our Arab and Muslim countries and cities, in the Arabian Peninsula? Is this conceivable?! What has happened to this nation?!"

Why "Celebrate a Religion That Is Not Yours – When They Are Preventing Us From Performing Our Rites?... [It's] Prohibited, Shameful, And Inappropriate"

"I call upon these shop owners... Just for a profit... They do it for money... People who want to buy will come without all this. Why do you pretend to celebrate a religion that is not yours, when they are preventing us from performing our rites? They prevent us from building a beautiful minaret, which is considered a beautiful piece of architecture, regardless of the religious aspect.

[...]

"Brothers, I wanted to convey my message, and warn my people that this is prohibited, shameful, and inappropriate. It points to stupidity in the treatment of others, and ignorance of what Islam obliges us to do about this."

"What Did Mr. Obama Accomplish to Deserve This Peace Prize?"

"There is another issue that I wanted to talk about in brief. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t know why they gave him this prize. What did Mr. Obama accomplish to deserve this peace prize? There is no peace in Iraq. There is no peace in Afghanistan. There is no peace in Somalia. There is no peace in any country. He hasn’t even managed to force Israel to cease its settlement activity.

[...]

"He withdrew some soldiers from Iraq, only to send them to Afghanistan – from one war to another, from one bloodshed to another. Blood continues to be shed in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and I should add Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, and so on. The world is boiling with war, so what did Mr. Obama get the Nobel Peace Prize for?"

[1] See MEMRI Special Announcement No. 63, "Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi Barred from U.K.," February 20, 2008, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi Barred from U.K.

[2] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 1592, "Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Islam's 'Conquest of Rome' Will Save Europe from Its Subjugation to Materialism and Promiscuity," Qatar TV, July 28, 2007, http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/1592 ; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 447, "Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome," December 6, 2002, Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome.

[3] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2689, "Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi on Al-Jazeera Threatens a Boycott on Switzerland If 'We Despair of Other Measures,'" December 11, 2009, Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi on Al-Jazeera Threatens a Boycott on Switzerland If 'We Despair of Other Measures'

[4] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2662, "Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Explains His Objections to Muslim-Christian Interfaith Dialogue," December 1, 2009, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Explains His Objections to Muslim-Christian Interfaith Dialogue.

[5] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2554, "Fatwa by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Iraqis Must Not Become U.S. Citizens, October 5, 2009, Fatwa by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Iraqis Must Not Become U.S. Citizens.

[6] December 11, 2009.

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