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.” TheFinancial 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).
3. Qaradawi Supports Iran:
It is obligatory on all Muslims to resist any possible attack the US might launch against Iran. Iran is a Muslim country which all Muslims should defend while the US is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support (October 11, 2007 interview with the IslamOnline radio).
4. Qaradawi Calls for Prohibiting Free Expression Offensive to Islam:
We must rage, and show our rage to the world…The governments must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets – to the prophets of the Lord and His messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places (February 3, 2006 sermon).
5. Qaradawi Rejects Secular Democracy as Incompatible With Islam and Sharia Law:
Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. For Muslim societies, the acceptance of secularism means something totally different. As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions. It is indeed a false claim that Shari’ah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: “Say! Do you know better than Allah?” (2:140).
For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari`ah is downright riddah [apostasy]. The silence of the masses in the Muslim world about this deviation has been a major transgression and a clear-cut instance of disobedience which have produces a sense of guilt, remorse, and inward resentment, all of which have generated discontent, insecurity, and hatred among committed Muslims because such deviation lacks legality (“How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah”).
6. Qaradawi Supports Death Penalty for ‘Public’ Apostasy:
Major apostasy, which the apostate proclaims and openly calls for in speech or writing, is to be, with all the more reason, severely punished by the death penalty, according to the majority of scholars and the apparent meaning of the Prophet’s hadiths…Apostates who call for apostasy from Islam have not only become disbelievers in Islam but have also become enemies of Islam and the Muslim nation. They, by doing so, fall under the category of those who wage war against Almighty Allah and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land…Islam lays down this severe punishment in order to protect its unity and the identity of its community. Every community in this world has basic foundations that are to be kept inviolable, such as identity, loyalty, and allegiance (April 13, 2006, “Apostasy: Major and Minor”).
7. Qaradawi Supports Death Penalty for Homosexuality:
We must be aware that in regulating the sexual drive Islam has prohibited not only illicit sexual relations and all what leads to them, but also the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females. (The same applies equally to the case of lesbianism). The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living … Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements (July 2004 Fatwa on Homosexuality).
8. Qaradawi Believes Women Are Inferior to Men and May Be Beaten ‘Lightly’ by Their Husbands:
Because of his natural ability and his responsibility for providing for his family, the man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife, and accordingly it is not permissible for her to rebel against his authority, causing disruption. Without a captain the ship of the household will flounder and sink. If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands avoiding her face and other sensitive areas (August 1960 “The Lawful and Prohibited In Islam”)
Youssef al-Qaradawi’s defenders in the Western media have disgracefully glossed over his Islamist supremacist views, rigid adherence to sharia law and genocidal desire to replicate the Holocaust in Israel. In their politically correct world where legitimate criticism of Islamism is regarded as Islamophobia, they have falsely cast Qaradawi as a model “moderate” Muslim leader who believes in “pluralism and democracy.” They are moral cowards, who are accomplices to Qaradawi’s takeyya.
Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and the new book, Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.