Qaradawi on Muslims and Jews

February 23rd, 2011 by Dave Rich

With Sheikh Qaradawi back in Egypt and back in the news, it is worth revisting a collection of his rulings and other writings on Israel, Jews and Zionism, Fatawa on Palestine, which was published some eight years ago, translated into English in 2007 and reviewed by myself and Mark Gardner in Democratiya (Summer 2008 edition, pdf).

Those people who opposed Qaradawi’s exclusion from this country have consistently mischaracterised the reasons why British Jews, along with several other minority groups, objected to his presence here in the past. Inayat Bunglawala, for example, this week wrote that:

Qaradawi became a controversial figure in the West after a campaign by Zionist organisations who were furious because of his support for Palestinian resistance fighters.

Quite apart from the fact that it was Jewish community organisations, not just “Zionist” ones, who objected; and that many others beyond the Jewish community also objected; and that Qaradawi’s explicit support for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians is a perfectly good reason to oppose him; this is far from the full story, as Fatawa on Palestine shows.

The most striking part of the book comes when Qaradawi discusses this hadith (that also appears in the Hamas Charter):

The last day will not come unless you fight Jews. A Jew will hide himself behind stones and trees and stones and trees will say, “O servant of Allah – or O Muslim – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

Qaradawi describes this hadith as “one of the miracles of our Prophet” and then explains:

[W]e believe that the battle between us and the Jews is coming … Such a battle is not driven by nationalistic causes or patriotic belonging; it is rather driven by religious incentives. This battle is not going to happen between Arabs and Zionists, or between Jews and Palestinians, or between Jews or anybody else. It is between Muslims and Jews as is clearly stated in the hadith. This battle will occur between the collective body of Muslims and the collective body of Jews i.e. all Muslims and all Jews. (p. 77)

He identifies “every Jew in the world” as an enemy of “every Muslim”:

The conquerors [of Palestine] are those with the greatest enmity toward the believers, and they are supported by the strongest state on earth – the USA, and by the world Jewish community. (p. 38)

If every Jew in the world thinks himself a soldier, and supports Israel as much as he can, surely every Muslim should be a soldier using his very soul and wealth to liberate al-Aqsa. The least the Muslim can do is to boycott the enemies’ goods. (p. 42)

Qaradawi warns that Muslims should not be friends with “Jews, in general, and Israelis, in particular” (p. 51). Jews are “devourers of Riba (usury) and ill-gotten money … [T]he true examples of miserliness and stinginess” (p. 53); “They have killed Prophet Zakariyya and Prophet Yahya and wove conspiracies against Jesus Christ” (p. 81). Israel is “dreaming of a state that extends from the River Nile to the Euphrates and from the Cedar trees (i.e. southern Lebanon) to the Palm trees (i.e. the Arabian Peninsula).” (p. 51). On boycotts, “[T]he consumer buying Jewish or American goods is committing a major sin” (p. 43).

As we wrote in the review, Qaradawi personifies the combination of theological anti-Judaism, modern European antisemitism and conflict-driven Judeophobia that make up contemporary Islamist attitudes to Jews. He makes no distinction between Israelis, Zionists and Jews and uses the terms interchangeably. I do not accuse Bunglawala of sharing Qaradawi’s views on these issues; but to reduce Jewish objections to Qaradawi to “Zionist” complaints that he supports “Palestinian resistance fighters” is grossly misleading. This support is fully explained in Fatawa on Palestine, but I have not included it in this post, because his other views suffice to demonstrate his enmity for Jews, his desire for conflict between all Muslims and all Jews wherever they live, and therefore why it is perfectly reasonable to view him as a dangerous extremist. If, as Bunglawala writes, he is “immensely influential”, this should be cause for concern, not a reason to change our attitude towards him.