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Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is being lauded in some Western media outlets as a moderate Muslim scholar and reformer who served as an inspiration for the freedom-fighters of the Arab Spring. The Egyptian-born cleric, who went into exile in Qatar decades ago and became a Qatari citizen, returned triumphantly to Cairo in February 2011 to address adoring crowds in Tahrir Square. He reappeared in Cairo last month on the eve of the Egyptian parliamentary elections.
In a December 8, 2011 puff piece on Qaradawi, the Financial Times fawned all over him as a moderate Muslim thinker who seeks to reconcile Islam with modern day democracy. The article opined that Qaradawi’s “pragmatic views on Islam and democracy could be a useful moderating guide for Arab societies.” The Financial Times article went on to say that Qaradawi is urging Islamist movements “to stick to a moderate, middle course.”
The Financial Times is not alone in its effusive praise of Sheikh Qaradawi. In writing about Qaradawi’s February 2011 speech in Tahrir Square, the New York Times claimed that he focused on “themes of democracy and pluralism, long hallmarks of his writing and preaching… Scholars who have studied his work say Sheik Qaradawi has long argued that Islamic law supports the idea of a pluralistic, multiparty, civil democracy.”
What passes today for shabby, politically correct reporting at Western elite media outlets such as the Financial Times and the New York Times conveniently omits the extensive documented evidence from Qaradawi’s own words that he is the direct opposite of a moderate believer in democracy or a reformer. His language supporting the Arab Spring and the peoples’ aspirations for freedom is a phony facade of an evil man who manipulates Western terms such as “freedom and democracy” to cover his Islamist agenda. This is a man well-schooled in al-takeyya – the Islamic principle of lying to the “infidel.”
Even a cursory examination of Qaradawi’s speeches, sermons and writings meant for Muslim audiences reveals his true zealous belief in the supremacy of Islamic law, or sharia, as the basis for governing society. His own words demonstrate that he thinks the Nazi holocaust was “divine punishment” for the Jews and a good example for “believers” to follow, regards suicide bombing as an act of martyrdom, supports the Iranian fundamentalist Islamist theocracy, calls for prohibiting free expression which is critical of Islam, dismisses democracy based on self-government and man-made laws as completely incompatible with Islam, treats apostasy and homosexuality as capital offenses, and supports the beating of wives by their husbands.
1. Qaradawi’s Anti-Semitism and Call for Genocide Against the Jews:
Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers (January 2009 speech which aired on Al Jazeera).
The only thing that I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah…. [Allah] will not allow these people [Jews] to continue to spread corruption in the land. We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and Allah willing, it will be by our own hands (January 2009 “Gaza Victory Rally” in Qatar).
Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one (January 9, 2009 sermon which aired on Al-Jazeera).
2. Qaradawi Supports Suicide Bombers, Including Women, as Martyrs:
I supported martyrdom operations. This is a necessary thing, as I told them in London. Give the Palestinians tanks, airplanes, and missiles, and they won’t carry out martyrdom operations. They are forced to turn themselves into human bombs, in order to defend their land, their honor, and their homeland (February 2010 interview with BBC Arabic).
[A] clear distinction has to be made here between martyrdom and suicide. Suicide is an act or instance of killing oneself intentionally out of despair, and finding no outlet except putting an end to one’s life. On the other hand, martyrdom is a heroic act of choosing to suffer death in the cause of Allah, and that’s why it’s considered by most Muslim scholars as one of the greatest forms of jihad… I think the committed Muslim women in Palestine have the right to participate and have their own role in jihad and to attain martyrdom (March 22, 2004 Fatwa appearing on Islamonline).
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