Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has called on Muslims worldwide to hold a day of “peaceful” anger next Friday to protest the offensive remarks made by Pope Benedict VXI, saying that the pontiff’s expression of sorrow for the crisis still fell far short of an apology.
Qaradawi said the pope’s remarks came to entrench offensive statements made by US President George W. Bush last month that America was at war with “Islamist fascists.” The pope’s remarks “gave an international cover for what Bush is doing,” Qaradawi insisted.
Over at Harry’s Place, the eponymous Harry offers his take on Qaradawi’s call for the Pope to withdraw the offensive quotation: “This attempt to silence reflects the totalitarian nature of Islamism”!
Qaradawi is in fact particularly well known for his pluralistic interpretation of Islam. To quote Karen Armstrong:
“He believes in moderation, and is convinced that the bigotry that has recently appeared in the Muslim world will impoverish people by depriving them of the insights and visions of other human beings. The Prophet Muhammad said that he had come to bring a ‘Middle Way’ of religious life that shunned extremes, and Qaradawi thinks the current extremism in some quarters of the Islamic world is alien to the Muslim spirit and will not last…. The West, he insists, must learn to recognize the Muslims’ right to live their religion and, if they choose, to incorporate the Islamic ideal in their polity. They have to appreciate that there is more than one way of life. Variety benefits the whole world. God gave human beings the right and ability to choose, and some may opt for a religious way of life – including an Islamic state – while others prefer the secular ideal.” (Islam: A Short History, pp.157-8)
Of course, Harry in fact knows sweet f.a. about Qaradawi – he just spins fantasies out of his own head based on general presuppositions about Islamism. Odd, you might think, that a self-styled defender of Enlightenment values so readily substitutes ignorant dogmatism for empirical analysis.