Leading Muslim scholars will meet in Doha on May 10-11 to discuss the starving of the Palestinian people after the cut in international aid, and are expected to issue a fatwa obliging Muslims and governments to help. “In view of the financial siege clamped on the Palestinian people, it is the duty of Muslim scholars to meet and make their position known to the nation,” prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi told a press conference on Saturday, May 6. Sheikh Qaradawi slammed “the West’s double standards in rejecting the Palestinian democracy simply because its result did not suit them.” He branded this as “political hypocrisy which we reject.”
And while we’re on the subject, an earlier appeal by Qaradawi for financial support to the Palestinians was attacked by the pseudo-left neocons at Harry’s Place, who used excerpts selected by MEMRI from a Qaradawi sermon to accuse him, yet again, of being an anti-semite. “Gene” wrote:
“Maybe Sullivan, Ken Livingstone, Madeleine Bunting and other leftwing Qaradawi apologists still think that when he says ‘Jews’, he simply means Israelis. (I don’t think they really believe that, but let’s pretend they do.) How, then, will they explain away this passage from Qaradawi’s latest sermon, broadcast April 21 on Qatar TV? ‘The Jews throughout the world – despite their well-known stinginess, miserliness, and selfishness, and despite their worship of gold…. The Jews contributed generously to the Jewish state, before and after its establishment, and they are still contributing to this day. Shouldn’t the Arabs and Muslims contribute for their sacred cause?’ Here, inconveniently, Qaradawi refers unmistakably to stingy, miserly, selfish, gold-worshipping non-Israeli Jews. How will the Islamophobia Watchers spin this? Will they even try?”
I’ve asked an Arabic-speaking contact to check out the video extracts from Qaradawi’s sermon on the MEMRI site and he tells me that – surprise, surprise – the MEMRI translation is unreliable. The relevant passage should read something like this:
“The Palestinian people has sacrificed its blood. It has easily sacrificed its souls, for the sake of its cause, its religion, and its homeland. Should we not give them money? The Jews throughout the world – despite what is said about their stinginess, miserliness, selfishness and worship of gold… The Jews contributed generously to the Jewish state, before and after its establishment, and they are still contributing to this day. Shouldn’t the Arabs and Muslims contribute for their sacred cause?”
In other words, rather than saying that he himself thinks that all Jews are stingy, miserly, selfish etc, Qaradawi is saying that contrary to these supposed characteristics the world Jewish community has in fact been extremely generous in its support for the Israeli state, and that the world Muslim community should seek to emulate this generosity in supporting the Palestinians.
In any case, if there is one issue that Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been absolutely clear on over the years it is his insistence on drawing a sharp distinction between the attitude Muslims take towards Israel and their relations with the Jewish people. Dr al-Qaradawi has repeatedly emphasised the point he made in an Al Jazeera interview in May 2002: “We do not fight Israelis because they are Jews but because they took our land, killed our children and profaned our holy places.” At a press conference at City Hall during his visit to London in July 2004 he expanded on this point:
“We don’t have hostility with Israelis because they are Jews. There is nothing wrong between us and the Jews. Judaism for us … is a divine religion with a divine book that has its respected status in our religion…. The Jews lived with the Muslims for centuries and even when they were persecuted in Europe they found no safe refuge except for in the land of Islam where they lived protected, honoured and many of them prospered…. We are not fighting the Jews, we do not want to fight the Jews, we do not want to have hostility with the Jews. We only have a problem with those who attack us, oppress us and those who are now building this wall, confiscating the land and inflicting collective punishment on the Palestinians.”
Asked in an Al-Jazeera interview in February 2005 if he was in favour of interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Jews, Qaradawi replied: “I welcome Jews who dissociate themselves from what Israel is doing, and I welcome being with them.”
Given the anti-semitism now rife in the Middle East, which arises from the Jewish people as a whole being wrongly blamed for the crimes of the Israeli state, you might have thought that Qaradawi would be given some credit for exercising a positive influence on Muslim and Arab opinion. Instead, the defenders of “Enlightenment values” at Harry’s Place are intent on ignoring the public stand he has taken on this issue and misrepresenting his views.
It is also worth noting the comments posted in response to the Harry’s Place attack on Qaradawi. One reads: “Who would be suprised that a muslim hates jews?” Another states: “I’m moved to be greatful [sic] that there’s an ocean between my countries (Canada and the US) and any Muslim countries.”
Another comment describes Islam as “a supremacist death cult that celebrates as a prophet the life of a bigot beyond belief, a thief, a rapist, a mass murderer, a breaker of treaties and a paedophile. A cult that seeks Global hegemony, a cult that provides a portal for millions into a 14th century barbaric mindset echoing that of their ‘prophet’. A cult whose core tenets are completely at odds with egalitarianism, tolerance, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and modernity…. when curious folks with normal, tolerant and classically liberal sensibilities take the trouble to drill into the Islam themselves, which more and more are doing, they inevitably discover that the Mainstream interpretation of Islam REALLY IS THAT BAD, right up there with the most barbaric, bloodthirsty, intolerant ideologies ever.”
Can you imagine the response by the moderators at Harry’s Place if similar comments were made about the Jewish religion and people – if readers posted comments which asked “Who would be suprised that a jew hates muslims?” or which expressed relief that there was a large geographical distance between their own country and states with large Jewish populations? Such comments would (rightly) be considered racist and removed. But it’s quite OK with the “decent Left” at Harry’s Place to post racist and hate-filled remarks about Muslims. What an obnoxious bunch of bigots they are.