Qaradawi Calls For Attacks On

Qaradawi Calls for Attacks on Americans in Iraq

Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an old time Muslim Brotherhood cleric resident in Qatar, has called for Muslims to “fight” Americans in Iraq, whether troops or civilians, because they are occupiers. Al-Jazeerah.net says,

‘ “All of them (US military personnel and civilians) are invaders who came from their country to invade our country and fighting them [in Iraq] is a duty,” said his office director Essam Talima on Thursday, quoting a fatwa or ruling on religious law by al-Qaradawi. ‘

Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that he actually called for civilians to be kidnapped, as a way of pressuring the Bush administration to get back out of Iraq.

As for the question of the presence of US troops, there either will be an elected Iraq parliament by February 1, or there won’t. If there is, it will have the authority to ask US troops to leave if it so desires, and that should be the decision of the Iraqi population as a whole (it is currently divided on this matter), not of al-Qaradawi. If there isn’t, I expect a popular movement led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to force elections and an early departure of the US. Either way, Iraqis should decide this matter, preferably at the ballot box or through demonstrations, not by killing people.

As for al-Qaradawi’s call for American civilians in Iraq to be attacked, it is absolutely despicable. It is also contrary to classical Islamic law, as the Abdul Mu’ti al-Bayyumi of the al-Azhar Seminary noted only a few days ago.

I heard al-Bayyumi on al-Jazeerah speaking eloquently about the Islamic duty to avoid harming civilians. He said the same thing to al-Sharaq al-Awsat: “Civilians who do not fight and do not take part in the fighting may not be killed or kidnapped. They must be treated well. If he does participate in the fighting against Muslims, in any way, it is permitted to treat him as a combatant.”

Another figure at al-Azhar, Shaikh Abdul Subur Shahin, supported Qaradawi on this issue.

Al-Qaradawi seems to hold that occupying Muslim land is a casus belli that authorizes Muslim vigilante action against the occupying troops. Here, he is unilaterally drafting the civilians into this war. He condemned the September 11 attacks, apparently because he did not accept al-Qaeda’s argument that the US was occupying Muslim lands. But the logic of Muhammad Atta and Ziad Jarrah was the same as al-Qaradawi’s with only the difference that they had a different premise– that informal hegemony is equivalent to occupation.

Al-Qaradawi was let into the UK to speak to various audiences this summer. I hope the UK government knows that the implications of his ruling are to urge Iraqis to attack British civilians and troops, as well. His visit there is controversial, but he is defended by many Muslim organizations:

‘ The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organisation representing some 400 different bodies, condemned media attacks on al-Qaradawi, describing him as “a voice of reason, understanding and wisdom”. ‘

There is something very wrong with the Muslim Council of Britain if it thinks this. And its members should reflect that al-Qaradawi is contributing to negative stereotypes about Muslims by calling for violence against civilians.

A lot of people nowadays give the early Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which formed al-Qaradawi, a pass. But they forget the vigilante attacks on Egyptian judges, the assassination of a prime minister, and the attacks on Egyptian Jews, by the Secret Apparatus of the party in the 1940s. The MB in Egypt nowadays has evolved more toward the mainstream, though there are extremists at the fringes. Al-Qaradawi came out of the old Muslim Brotherhood before it turned toward parliamentary politics, and still worships the false idol of terror.