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September 07, 2004


Steve Carr

With all due respect, you can't be serious about this. Qaradawi's aide, Essam Talima, explained that the fatwa meant: "All of them are invaders who came from their country to invade our country and fighting them is a duty." "All of them" seems pretty clear. Qaradawi supports suicide-bombing attacks on Israeli civilians. Is it surprising he'd support the murder of American civilians who were aiding the occupying forces (which would mean, of course, all Americans in Iraq)? This is a classic case of Qaradawi saying one thing to the Muslim community and then semi-recanting it in order to preserve his reputation in the West as a representative of moderate Islam.

It's also worth noting that in this fatwa -- http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=114486 -- Qaradawi argues that Muslims should take no POWs until their enemies "have been routed altogether." In other words, if enemy soldiers try to surrender during the course of a battle (before the battle has been won), they should not be taken captive, but rather massacred. ("No Enemy Captives Are to Be Held Before Their Army is Vanquished.") Do you really think this is what "real reform" looks like?

the aardvark

The statement was made only by Qaradawi's aide - not by YQ himself. His real position, as I understand it, seems to be this: resistance to occupation is legitimate (hence, his support for armed attacks against Israelis), and thus armed attacks against American and British troops are legitimate. But attacks against innocents - whether French journalists, Shia worshippers, or American/British civilians - is contrary to Islam. Is this the position of an apostle of non-violence? No, of course not: he believes - as do most of us who aren't pacifists - that violence is legitimate only under certain specified conditions. But it's also not an open-ended endorsement of terrorism against American and British civilians, as it's been made out to be. And in the context of the general Arab/Islamic argument about violence and jihad, well, yes - it is a fairly moderate position.

As for whether this represents "real reform", I'm not sure I follow. The point about reform relates to internal questions about democracy, corruption, accountability, freedoms, etc - I don't see the link to the quote there.

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