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December 09, 2004



Interestingly, the US Army War College is thinking about these kinds of issues as well. Here's a report about Islamic laws of warfare done by a scholar at UCLA:



“While I can understand why American liberals might be leery of his socially conservative views,”


“and many more Americans might be deeply disgusted by his positions on Palestinian suicide bombings,”

Yep. Again.

“I think that people often deeply underestimate the role that such figures can and do play in the wider battle of ideas in the Arab and Muslim world.”

Quite possibly so. I’m informed by Qaradawi’s disavowal of the whole hostage murder thing and will concede that at the very least it is not fair to refer to this issue without referencing the disavowal. Further, I’m also informed by this comment:

“If the people believe in religion, and organize themselves outside the state along those lines, on what grounds can their beliefs or organizations be summarily excluded from the bounds of legitimate "civil society"?”

I’ll concede that Christian religious conservatives appear to advance much the same argument. I’m not one of them, but I support American style separation of Church and State (no Establishment) and not French style enforced secularity in the public sphere. Freedom must entail the freedom to wear ones’ faith, on one’s sleeve if one likes.

I still think there’s a case to be made that Qaradawi is a religious hate monger, and his “socially conservative views” alone suffice to earn him that distinction. Note that were he a conservative Christian theologian, this would hardly be controversial, they get called that and worse every day (and in at least some cases, rightly so).

But I’m interested in the idea that Qaradawi could be this, and yet also be a foil against Bin Laden, Zarqawi, et al. That’s an interesting idea and one I’ll have to think about. I distrust him and his motives, and I’m not alone in this, but in some respects this may not matter. In any case, know that should I further criticize Qaradawi (and I fully expect to), know that I acknowledged this much.

the aardvark

Couldn't ask for more than that. I've said many times myself something similar - I don't actually particularly like Qaradawi's views, nor trust his intentions; but I think it's important to present those views honestly, see where they fit in the wider spectrum of Muslim opinion, and engage with them fairly in both the positives and negatives. If, having done that, you still conclude that on balance Qaradawi and others like him should still be denounced and opposed, then at least we're arguing about the same thing - and can reasonably disagree.

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