Following are excerpts from an interview with Sunni scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 7, 2009.
Interviewer: As observers have noted, the war in Europe has shifted from fighting the so-called terrorism, extremism, and extremists to fighting Islam itself and its symbols. How did this change take place, and why?
Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: I'm telling you, it's a complex – a complex that has been passed down since ancient times, ever since Islam vanquished them. It is a complex that calls for psychological analysts. That is why they keep inventing something new.
At one stage, they talked about Islamic extremism and confronted it. Then they said... After saying: "Beware of the extremist Islam," they began to say: "Beware of the moderate Islam. Extremist Islam is short-term and will not last long. What will continue to exist and to influence is moderate Islam." They would warn about moderate Islam, and they considered it more dangerous and influential [then extremist Islam]. Then they began [to talk about] fundamental Islam and political Islam. Then the issue of terrorism arose, after incidents of September 2001, and the fanning of the flames of terrorism.
The truth is that whoever reads their statements, and collects them, and reads the lines and what's between the lines realizes that they mean Islam, not terrorism. In some of his statements, Bush said that the Muslims are Fascist and deserve a new Crusade. When his advisors drew his attention to the danger underlying his statements against all Muslims, he apologized for them, and so on.
The complexes are what lead people to say: "Minarets today [will lead to] the implementation of the Shari'a tomorrow. What implementation of Shari'a? Even in countries that are purely Islamic, we have not been able to... The Organization of the Islamic Conference consists of 50-something countries. How many of them implement the Shari'a? If the original Islamic countries do not implement the Shari'a, how can we possibly implement it in Switzerland?!
The Muslims have a right to be angry. Today, Colonel Qadhafi said: "If that's the situation, we must reconsider the building of churches [in Muslim countries], and our relations with Christianity." Of course, everything... For every action there is a reaction.
If you are beaten, will you keep silent? Anyone who is oppressed must breathe, and anyone who is beaten must shout. If Switzerland does not comply [with the Muslims' demands], it is the Muslims' duty, not just their right, to withdraw their money from the Swiss [banks]. There are billions in Switzerland. Switzerland was known as a safe and neutral country of liberties, but it is no longer that kind [of country]. If it is no longer like that, we should treat it accordingly.
Tens of thousands of [Muslim] tourists visit Switzerland. This year, people must say: No. What happened has consequences. There are Swiss products [which can be banned]. I am saying this now, but only after we despair of all [other] measures. It is our right to use this method. These are all weapons in our hands, but we will not resort to them yet. At present, we will try to use the weapons of media and the law, and try to influence the others. We will try to change the stereotypical image of Islam, which is implanted in the minds of the Europeans.