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January 13, 2005



Does the Koran have a book or story that is similar to the book of Job in the Bible? I do not understand why people must attempt to interpret disasters as some religious sign AFTER the event.

In the Bible's Old Testament, there was some warning given by a prophet concerning an event. This tsunami was not predicted.


ok, this is OT, but have you seen this?


Globalization is some scary stuff sometimes.


Abu Ardvark guess what I've voted for you in the Brass Crescent Awards in the Best Non-Muslim Blog category. You can read why in the voting dicussion thread.


Hey, did Qaradawi say anything about this?


the aardvark

praktike - not that I know of... man, that's wild. It's like that grilled cheese with the Virgin Mary's face on it.

Fox - thanks!


"It's like that grilled cheese with the Virgin Mary's face on it."

Mmmm ... best 27 grand I ever spent.


test (sorry, but I was rejected elsewhere)


Salaam - OK, here's a little comment on the most recent attacks on Qaradawi, based on this MEMRI propaganda...


In particular:

"Furthermore, they deliberately omitted from Sheikh Qaradawi's Friday sermon his appeal to the Muslims of the world to rush to the aid of the victims of the Tsunami disaster Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Worse still, they did not care to inform the public about the daily appeal featuring Sheikh Al-Qaradawi on the Arabic satellite station Aljazeera urging Muslims to donate generously to the fund set up by the Federation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent to alleviate the suffering of the Tsunami victims."


Hey, and I got called an anti-semite! Funny, that. But Joe and lewy defended me from that, thankfully, and the worst I stand accused of is a cynical realpolitik that may or may not be realistic. I don't know.

I think the real question is whether Qaradawi is, on balance, a restraining force or a gateway force when it comes to terrorism. I think that his social conservatism issues should be said aside and not lumped in. Then I think there is another issue -- by keeping Qaradawi out of London, what is being accomplished, exactly? One could plausibly make the argument that you wouldn't want him unduly influencing "Londonistan," but he's still going to be on Al Jazeera every Friday. So what are you accomplishing exactly? Another problem is that -- what if the UK's potential influence on Qaradawi is actually more important than the reverse? (although I can see the UK's influence could be negative)


I disagree with part of what Praktike has said on this one. I think leaving his social conservatism aside is not an advisable strategy, insofar as it perpetuates the existing "functionalist" approach to understanding Islamism now (always?) en vogue. If we only want to understand people in terms of their "threat factor," we're not really understanding them (and thus, I would argue, we risk fundamentally misunderstanding them).

With specific regard to Qaradawi and others whom we (or the Abu) might place in some kind of "intermediate" place in a typology of islamisms, if we take his social conservatism as seriously as other features of his thought, we will get a better picture of where he devotes his energies, how he "ranks" his priorities, etc. Some of his more controversial statements might be less significant, or they might be more important/consistent with an overall worldview than we thought. I don't know Qaradawi's thought well enough to comment on this, but I can certainly think of other examples of an idea that was really a "footnote" taking on central importance in the definition of a thinker, Islamist or no.

It may be that Qaradawi's social conservatism is just a distraction - an set of issues related to the internal management of the umma with which he busies himself while he waits for all of us to respond to his "real" concerns related to an ongoing struggle with the West - but we can better make that evaluation if we deal with his thought from a more holistic perspective.

the aardvark

praktike - I stopped reading the WoC thread after my last response to Joe; I missed that part with you. Good for Joe and lewy if they defended you, but after Joe's bizarre and unwarranted response to my last comment I just lost interest in that thread.

Anyway, I think your last point is exactly right: keeping him out of London isn't going to reduce his influence in the slightest, and probably actually increases it by letting him look strong in the face of Western hostility; but treating him like this gives him less reason to be forthcoming towards the West and on issues that concern us. It's just dumb.


Stacey makes a good point, and I hope I understand her correctly, because she's much smarter than I am.

You could reduce the conflict between the West and almost any anti-Western resistance movement/ideology to a struggle over social issues, most notably the role and right of women in society. You would be wrong in some cases -- e.g. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- but you might be right on the big picture.

But on the other hand, not everyone advocates blowing people up because their social views differ. Does Qaradawi? I doubt it. Khomenei's brand of radicalism was much more focused on social issues -- the U.S. as seducer -- than Bin Laden's, which seems to be far more about concrete U.S. actions and policies than it is about an intrusion of Western social norms.

WRT Qaradawi, I don't know enough to say to what extent his views on, say, Jews, are informed by his social conservatism or rather by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it seems to me that what Qaradawi does by embracing his own Islamist conception of democracy, perhaps unwittingly, is opens the door for social issues to be discussed and debated within the context of Islam. Where do you think Qaradawi would stand on the debate over the sancitity of the Sunnah?


Would he be willing to discuss it, or would he reject it out of hand? Like I said over on WoC, I haven't made up my mind, but I think these are the kinds of questions worth answering--in addition to the ones I raised above--before making a decision about Qaradawi and others like him.


Huh ... you consider IslamOnline.net to be a more reliable source than MEMRI?

As if IslamOnline doesn't have all kinds of made up and slanted stuff on it not just in their views section but also in their "news".

The last time that this blog accused MEMRI of distortions, you eventually admitted that their translation of "wilayet" was at least possible (even if they were too certain about it). You even said that you regretted your forceful initial statement.

Shouldn't you at least see the transcript before sneering at MEMRI once again?

the aardvark


That's a fair question. I didn't consider this - "I could be wrong about all this ... but this does seem to be a case of MEMRI's selective translation leaving readers with the wrong impression of his meaning" - to be "sneering", and I thought that I acknowledged the tentative nature of my conclusions by pointing out that I had not seen a full transcript.

Is Islam Online more reliable than MEMRI? I'd call it likely about even - both are partisan. But I actually used the transcript on Qaradawi's own website ( http://www.qaradawi.net ), which I take to be his officially endorsed version of the khutba, since no other full version was offered. I also checked it against the BBC translated excerpts.


The Abu's link has a typo. Use:


the aardvark

Whoops, sorry - pesky parantheses. I fixed it in the comment. Thanks Stacy.

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