Texas Imam Yasir Qadhi said in a Friday, March 4, 2022 sermon at the East Plano Islamic Center in Plano, Texas that the West has a double standard since it regards Ukrainians opposing the Russian invasion to be freedom fighters, while considering Muslims fighting Western occupation in the Middle East to be terrorists. He asked how come a Ukrainian soldier who blew himself up to prevent Russians from crossing a bridge was "valorized," while in the "same incident" in other situations he would have been considered a "suicide bomber." Qadhi also said that it is hypocritical that foreign fighters who volunteer to fight on behalf of the Ukrainian resistance are glorified while volunteers to fight Western invasion are jailed. He qualified that he was never an advocate of "those types of religious movements," but that he also had never said that "those types of people in those lands" are doing anything wrong. Qadhi asked: "When a foreign country invades you, what do you expect the locals to do?" He said: "We are not justifying terrorism, but who gets to define what is terrorism?"
Later in the sermon, Qadhi said that Western countries go to war to spread "their version of democracy," but that Muslim states in the past would go to war to spread Islam or to defend Muslims. He added that he thanks Allah for the Islamic occupation of India so that his ancestors could stop the worship of pagan gods. He said: "If they can go to war for false reasons of the material world, then we have no reason to be ashamed… when our ancestors and the caliphs went to war for far more noble causes." Sheikh Yasir Qadhi has studied at the University of Houston, at the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, and at Yale University. For more about Dr. Yasir Qadhi, see MEMRI TV Clips no. 8433, no. 8401, no. 7640, and no. 7451. The sermon was uploaded to EPIC's YouTube channel, as well as to Sheikh Qadhi's channel.
Yasir Qadhi: "When our states declared war in the past, they did so for noble reasons and there are two primary reasons. Number one, to spread the message and not the religion, nobody forced, but the message needs to be spread. And number two, to help innocent people. And praise be to Allah, on these days, Western lands, they go to war to spread their creed and their message.
"Their message is the message of capitalism, their message is their version of democracy, their version of government. They think it is justified to bomb entire lands so they can get rid of a king and replace him with their version of democracy, that is why they go to war.
"As for the Eastern Bloc, they go to war to prevent capitalism, to spread communism. They go to war because they don't want NATO alliances, whatever it might be, that's their wisdoms. As for us, we in our shari'a were never allowed to go to war for the sake of greed, for the sake of money, for the sake of capitalism or imperialism.
"No, we went to war to spread the kalima or to defend innocent people. The fact of the matter, and I say this loudly and proudly as person whose origin is in the land of India, I say proudly, 'I thank Allah for Mohammed Ibn al-Qassim to come to my land so that my ancestors could stop the worship of Pagan gods.'
"I can say loudly and proudly, there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. If they can go to war for false reasons of dunya [worldly concerns], we have nothing to be ashamed about of our own shari'a and our own tradition when our ancestors and the hulafaa went to war for far more noble causes.
"Look at how those Ukrainians were standing up and fighting Russian oppression are being portrayed. Look at how those people are being portrayed as freedom fighters. Look at the valorization of the underground resistant movement. So praise be to Allah, on CNN on its front page of the life and bravery of a Ukrainian soldier who blew himself up to prevent Russians from crossing a particular bridge. He is viewed as a martyr for a noble cause.
"In any other circumstance, this would have been a suicide bomber who's a religious fanatic. But all of the sudden, the same incident and the same reality is portrayed in a different matter. BBC, on its front page, and I could not believe this, I saw this with my own eyes, was reporting with glee, with happiness that British citizens are coming to the Ukrainian embassy wanting to fight and wanting to volunteer.
"And the interviewer says 'are you Ukrainian?' 'No, I'm not Ukrainian.' 'Why are you going?' 'I want to fight for justice,' praise be to Allah. So when it is Russia that is invading, you want your own citizens to go and defend, but when it is a Western power, then when your citizens do this, you go and you jail them and you call them 'terrorists.'
"We have to be fair here, we have to be consistent in what we say is freedom and what we say is justice. Just because the invaders happen to be us, all of the sudden everything changes? No, we have to with wisdom, because again this is a very sensitive topic and I have to put this disclaimer throughout those years of whatever was happening in the Middle East.
"I was never an advocate of those religious movements but at the same time, I never said that those types of people in those lands are doing anything wrong, I never said this. And today I'm saying the same thing. When a foreign country comes and invades you, what do you expect the locals to do? What do you expect?
"The Ukrainians are fighting against those who invaded them, they are freedom fighters. When the Palestinians stand up and fight against oppression for 70 years, they become the aggressors, they become the violent people.
"We are not justifying terrorism, but who gets to define terrorism? And why is one act considered terrorism and not the other?"