Prominent Sunni cleric Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi's July 2004 visit to London to establish the International Council of Muslim Clerics ('Ulama)prompted reactions in the Arab press worldwide, which discussed, among other things, Al-Qaradhawi's controversial statements and positions. On several occasions during the visit, Al-Qaradhawi made the point that those describing him as an extremist do not know his views. According to the BBC, he is reported to have said, "Do these people know me? If they are really after the truth why don't they try and find it instead of this venomous media campaign?"
However, on July 13, 2004, on his weekly program on Al-Jazeera television, 'Shari'a [Islamic Law] and Life,' Al-Qaradhawi explained his objections to including Jews in the May 2004 Conference of Islamic-Christian Dialogue in Doha.Accusing "the Jews" of permitting the spilling of Arab blood and of being oppressors, Al-Qaradhawi concluded, "There is no dialogue between us except by the sword and the rifle…"
The following are two columns from the Arab press about Al-Qaradhawi:
Former Editor of Leading Arab Paper: 'When it Comes to Political Matters, Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Represents the Utmost Degree of Extremism'
In an op-ed titled 'Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Liberal or Extremist?' the former editor of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, discussed the discrepancies in the positions expressed by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi on his current visit to London and those expressed on his website and other venues:
"There has been an uproar in the British papers because of the decision to allow Sheikh Dr. Yousef Al-Qaradhawi to enter Britain, and they have described him as 'The Mufti of Terrorism' and 'The Propagandist of Extremism.' They have demanded that the government stop him [from entering Britain] as did the U.S.
"Now, what is the truth: Is Al-Qaradhawi an extremist? The truth is that with regard to [internal] social problems, he is regarded as one of the most liberal ulama [i.e., Muslim religious scholars]. However, when we are talking about general political matters, he turns into a different kind of mufti, and his record is well known.
"Perhaps the fact that his name is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood organization has made him look on the world from the viewpoint of the party [i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood] rather than from the reality of the Islamic nation, its capabilities, and its needs. One can say about him what the Saudi minister for Islamic affairs said about some of the propagandists and mosque preachers – namely, that they incite the youth to go out to fight while they do not leave their countries and do not allow their own children to do so."
'Al-Qaradhawi, May Allah Forgive Him, Has Been One of the Most Prominent to Call for War and Confrontation'
"Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, may Allah forgive him, has been one of the most prominent speakers calling for war and confrontation. But he himself has continued to live in Qatar, in an air-conditioned house. I heard what Al-Qaradhawi said in his own defense against the attack by the London press, denying that he is inciting [and claiming] that he is conducting a dialogue, and that he is against violence and in favor of peace."
'What He Said in London is Not Consistent with His Words in Doha'
"However, what he said in London is not consistent with his words in [the Qatari capital] Doha, which you can all read in their totality, as they are documented on his website. Two weeks ago, he announced on his program ['Sharia and Life'on Al-Jazeera] that he is against the Jews and against conducting a dialogue with them, and that they are all iniquitous. The f ollowing are his words: 'The iniquity of the Jews, as a community, is obvious and apparent. Let me explain: The West, I can say about some of them [i.e., Westerners] who are iniquitous, and others who are not iniquitous. And it is possible. But iniquity on the part of the Jews is great iniquity, grave iniquity, iniquity that is incomparable and overt. Therefore, when it was suggested to me that Jews would be participating in the dialogue in the upcoming interview, I rejected this. I said no, we should not conduct a dialogue with these [people] while their hands are stained with our blood.'
"If Al-Qaradhawi had said that he was against the Israelis, then perhaps we would have understood the meaning. But he generalized and he said that it is permissible to have a dialogue with the Christians, and he criticized having a dialogue with the Jews. Al-Qaradhawi is free to have his views, but the question is, why does he relinquish his own statements for the sake of a visa, acting like others whose voices resound from our pulpits attacking the infidels, but who, when they line up in the embassies [to apply for visas], change their words.
"When it comes to political matters, Al-Qaradhawi represents the utmost degree of extremism, to the point that he recently ridiculed the Organization of the Islamic Conference,when he openly expressed his desire and that of his revolutionary friends for political leadership, saying, 'We want the ulama torepresent the Islamic nation [i.e., the OIC does not represent the Muslims].' He also demanded [that the Islamic nation should obtain] the nuclear bomb, saying, 'In order to shed this backwardness, we must produce a nuclear bomb, as did Pakistan, and as perhaps Iran is doing. However, we are besieged so that we will continue to be weak.'
"These are his ideas. And I do not know which is more truthful: what he said in London, or what he has propagated from Qatar."
Iraqi Émigré Writer: Will London's Mayor Become a Mufti, or Sheikh Al-Qaradawi Become a Marxist?
Iraqi émigré writer Hassan Assad , who resides in Sweden, published a satirical article on the reformist website www.elaph.com about the unholy alliance between London's "Marxist" mayor Ken Livingstone and the Islamist cleric Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi.
'The War in Afghanistan United All the Opposing Forces and Ideologies against the Common Enemy, Communism'
"The war in Afghanistan united all the opposing forces and ideologies [in the country] against their common enemy, communism, which had invaded the Muslim country of Afghanistan. Cross and crescent embraced, with the blessing of the six-pointed star [Star of David], to expel the Soviet forces from the land of the Jihad fighters. The Iranian ayatollahs and Saudi clerics issued similar Fatwas against the 'infidels,' the Red Army troops.Sheikh Yusef Al-Qaradhawi was one of those who recited calls to Jihad and urged Arab Muslims to go to the Afghanistan war zone to assist its people who were waging Jihad and to join the fighters who came there from the four corners of the earth to expel the invaders – the 'infidel' Marxists.
"The Russians left, communism collapsed, [and] the Muslim clerics and ayatollahs triumphed over the Marxists. The cross and the six-pointed star left the scene, leaving the crescent in the sky over Kabul – for it is a Muslim country, and hence [according to the Islamists] should be illuminated by the crescent. However, the crescent… waned into disappearance, and darkness engulfed all Afghanistan and its people."
'The Sheikhs and Ayatollahs Convinced Themselves that Hidden [Divine] Forces had Made Their Victory Possible'
"The ayatollahs and Saudi clerics imagined that Islam had made the Communists flee the battlefields, and that is how they described it to their followers. They did not know or perceive that it was their 'friends,' the Crusaders, with their modern, deadly weapons and the people of the six-pointed star, with their clever, well-planned use of the media, who purged the land of Afghanistan of the Marxist defilement.
"The sheikhs and ayatollahs convinced themselves that hidden [divine] forces had made their victory possible, and therefore they recklessly persisted … and challenged all who refused to enter the black tent [of Islamism], threatening them with destruction and disaster. Being accustomed to violating alliances and biting the hand stretched out to help them, they betrayed their former companions and shifted their battle to the house that had been their refuge and source of power.
"The Marxists, former foes [of the Islamists], decided to play the same card as the Crusaders [in their fight] against the Soviet Union, and formed an alliance with the people of the crescent – namely, the Islamists. The Marxists began issuing communiqués and organizing conferences and demonstrations in support of the terrorism and criminal deeds being carried out by the [Islamist] sons of darkness against the Americans and the entire West…"
'The Mayor of London Understands Very Well Who His Guest Really Is'
"Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi is the preacher who concludes each of his Friday sermons with a supplication to Allah to annihilate all those who do not embrace Islam. He has television programs all year round that have made him a star of the small screen, in a way that arouses jealousy in the hearts of the stars of Arab television series… That is, by virtue of his calls for Jihad against all those of other religions, he incites against every opinion that is different.
"Today, [Al-Qaradhawi] is the guest of the 'Marxist' mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, blessed be He Who changes one thing into another. Responding to accusations that he supports terrorism and crime, which he terms Jihad, Al-Qaradhawi denied this. Even though he knows that these things are documented on tape and in books and newspapers, he dissimulates, presenting views that he does not believe in his heart.
"The mayor of London understands very well who his guest really is… However, he helps Al-Qaradhawi deny the accusations against him because he shares his hostility for that civilization that removed from the world the totalitarian Marxist ideology, represented by the Soviet Union and its satellites.
"And now, who will put the turban on the other? Will Al-Qaradhawi place his [Muslim cleric's] turban on the head of London's Marxist mayor, or will the mayor pin the hammer and sickle medal of Communism on the breast of Al-Qaradhawi's robe, so that he becomes a Marxist propagandist?…"
See Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in London to Establish 'The International Council of Muslim Clerics', July 8, 2004, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in London to Establish 'The International Council of Muslim Clerics'.
BBC News, July 11, 2004.
The proposal to conduct a dialogue with the Jews the during the Conference of Islamic-Christian Dialogue of in late May 2004 in Doha was raised by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abd Al-'Aziz ibn Khalifa Aal Thani, who said on behalf of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamd ibn Khalifa Aal Thani, 'Perhaps it would be effective if the dialogue next year were expanded to an Islamic-Christian-Jewish dialogue." See: www.islamonline.net, May 29, 2004.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 10, 2004.
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi made these statements on his Al-Jazeera weekly Sharia and Life program on June 20, 2004.
See endnote No. 3, above
According to its website at http://www.oic-oci.org, the Organization of the Islamic Conference was "set up by the Kings and Heads of State and Government of Islamic States, in 1969." On his Sharia and Life program of June 20, 2004, Al-Qaradhawi ridiculed the pretensions of the heads of Islamic countries in calling their organization "the Islamic Conference" while they represented Islamic governments and countries, not the entire Islamic nation. Al-Qaradhawi made these statements in the context of the establishment of the International Ulama Council on his current visit to London, in July 2004.
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi made this statement also on his weekly Sharia and Life program on June 20, 2004. This was not Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi's first mention of Muslim nuclear armament. See العجب العجاب!, January 22, 2003, Egypt Rethinks its Nuclear Program, Part III: The Nuclear Lobby.
The author emphasizes that despite the sharp differences between the Shi'ite ayatollahs and the Saudi Sunni clerics, both opposed the Communist invasion.
The author refers here to Islamist terrorist activity in Saudi Arabia.