Al-Qaradawi and the New Religious Conflict With Israel
Had the Muslim Brotherhood's al-Qaradawi visited the Gaza Strip to urge the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist, he would have been received with shoes and rotten eggs.
As US Secretary of State John Kerry pursues efforts to resume peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the world's leading Islamic scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, arrived in the Gaza Strip to express support for Hamas.
The Egyptian-born al-Qaradawi, who has in the past justified suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, came to the Gaza Strip at the head of a delegation consisting of some 50 senior Islamic figures from 14 countries.
The high-profile visit is seen as a major victory for Hamas and its supporters and a severe blow for Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and his "moderate" Fatah faction.
Al-Qaradawi, who heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars, came to the Gaza Strip to urge Palestinians to continue the struggle against Israel.
During his visit, al-Qaradawi also urged Palestinians not to give up one inch of land to non-Muslims. He also warned against making any concessions on the "right of return" of millions of Palestinians to their pre-1948 villages and towns inside Israel. "Palestine was never Jewish," the 86-year-old sheikh told Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. "Palestine has always been Arab and Islamic."
Although al-Qaradawi did not mention Abbas, his comments were seen as directed against the Palestinian Authority president's readiness to engage in peace talks with Israel.
When someone as senior and influential as al-Qaradawi tells Palestinians that it is forbidden to make concessions to Israel, he is sending a warning message to Abbas and other Arabs that jihad [holy war], and not negotiations, are the "only way to restore our rights."
Although the Palestinian Authority had called on its supporters in the Gaza Strip to boycott al-Qaradawi, thousands of Palestinians turned out to give him a hero's welcome.
His anti-Semitic remarks and support for suicide attacks have earned al-Qaradawi the respect and admiration of many Palestinians, especially those who seek to destroy Israel.
Had the Muslim Brotherhood's al-Qaradawi visited the Gaza Strip to urge Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist, he would have been received with shoes and rotten eggs.
But al-Qaradawi is a hero in the eyes of many Palestinians and Muslims because he views Jews as the "enemies of Islam and treacherous aggressors."
In a January 2009 sermon, al-Qaradawi prayed [according to a translation by MEMRI] that "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."
Al-Qaradawi's visit has further bolstered Hamas's standing, enabling it to tighten its grip over the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the visit has granted legitimacy to Hamas's rule in the Gaza Strip and turned it, in the Arab and Islamic countries, into an acceptable Islamic party.
But more importantly, al-Qaradawi's visit and statements also serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Arab conflict is centered, more than ever, around religion. The sheikh's message to the Palestinians and Muslims is that this is a religious conflict and not a political issue.
This is an unequivocal message that stresses that no Muslim is entitled to give up Muslim-owned land to non-Muslims. As far as al-Qaradawi, Hamas and their followers are concerned, the conflict is not about a settlement or a checkpoint. Rather, it is about Israel's presence -- its right to exist at all -- in the Middle East.
Reader comments on this item
|Of course it's a religious war [16 words]||Shoshana Rubin||May 16, 2013 22:51|
|Religious madman [125 words]||Vivienne||May 16, 2013 12:45|
|Al-Qaradawi [24 words]||Carol Goldberg||May 14, 2013 23:29|
|Dreams, dreams and more dreams [137 words]||Jayson Rex||May 14, 2013 19:28|
|Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi [20 words]||Joel||May 14, 2013 14:50|
|Of course it is [46 words]||Empress Trudy||May 14, 2013 13:53|
|Why does Islam need "scholars?" [39 words]||Will Knutsen||May 14, 2013 05:36|
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.