Qaradawi On Life In The West


The website of the International Union of Muslim Scholars has published excerpts in English of Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi’s views on the role of Muslims living in Western countries. Qaradawi, the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood network, provides the theological basis for such life but rules that virtually all interactions with the larger society be viewed in religious terms. He begins by setting forth why he believes Islam is “necessary” in the West listing such factors as dawa (the call to Islam), assistance for new converts, and defending “the Muslim Nation and the Muslim lands against all hostile and misleading powers and trends.” While not calling for Salafist isolation, Qaradawi does encourage Muslims to form their own communities within the larger host community:

I said to our brothers in such lands that they should try to have their own small community inside the large society otherwise they will dissolve just as salt dissolves in water. They should also exert great effort to establish their own religious, educational, cultural, social, and entertainment institutions.

Appearing not to understand the complete integration of Jewish citizens in Western countries, he calls on Muslims to emulate what he claims to be “the Jewish Quarter:

The character of the Jews has been preserved throughout history through their small society that has its own thoughts and rituals represented by what may be called ‘The Jewish quarter,’ so Muslim [minorities]should likewise have their own ‘quarters’.

Qaradawi then moves to the subject of Muslim political participation in Western societies which he finds permissible but only in order to secure “Muslim rights”:

The rule: ‘That without which an obligation cannot be established is itself an obligation’. Therefore, if Muslims cannot obtain their rights ‘“ religious, cultural and so on, ‘“ except by participating in politics and joining elections, this becomes obligatory upon them..In the light of this rule we view that it is more becoming for Muslims to participate in politics in order to achieve their religious and communal interests and to ward off dangers and evils, especially [considering the fact that]if they disregard politics, it will not leave them alone.

As noted earlier, these ruling appear to call for Muslims to see their life in the West solely through they eyes of religion and do not show an understanding of contemporary views on life in a Western, secular society.

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