In an appearance on Al-Jazeera TV, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi made several statements of note concerning the ongoing Danish cartoon controversy, the remarks of the U.K. Archbishop on Islamic law, and on secularism. When asked whether the reprinting of the Danish cartoons encouraged “violence and negative reactions”, Qaradawi reiterates a common Muslim Brotherhood theme about plots directed at Islam:
… that actions of this type provoke violence among Muslim youth, particularly since “they do not portray reality.” He adds: “These actions generate violence and encourage terrorist inclinations in the Muslim world.” Al-Qaradawi goes on to state that the pictures were printed the first time, so what is the use of reprinting them on a larger scale. He reiterates that: “the only objective behind it is merely defiance, provocation, despising, and ridiculing this nation.”
When asked how he interpreted reactions to the British Archbishop’s remarks supporting some form of inclusion of Islamic law into U.K. law, Qaradawi shows an either an astounding lack of understanding of Western society or a calculated bid for support by suggesting that the recent refusal of a U.K. visa for health treatment was evidence of the growing “fanaticism” of Western society:
Unfortunately, this is where Western civilization is heading. It is heading towards fanaticism, instead of tolerance, restraint, instead of reaching out, and repulsion from different species and colours. Thus, it has begun to lose the characteristic of which it used to feel proud, and this a very dangerous matter.” Asked whether the reprinting of pictures and the harsh reactions to the archbishop’s remarks threaten religious multiplicity in global communities, Al-Qaradawi confirms that it does. He points out that he was banned from entering Britain recently, although he visited it 10 times on many occasions in the past, and even though he always has been calling for moderation, tolerance, dialogue with others, and peace.
Finally, when asked for his opinion about secularism, Qaradawi it should only prevail in countries without a “religious majority” and that where Islam is in the majority, Islamic Law (Shariah) should govern:
In countries lacking a religious majority, secularism will be the solution; otherwise, religious fanaticism will prevail and cause a major calamity.” He explains that secularism is much better than the domination of fanaticism sometimes, giving India as an example to prove his point. He adds that in countries where Muslims form the majority of the population, Islamic Shariah should be the rule in a manner that it should be compatible with the modern age.
(Source: BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political February 20, 2008 Wednesday Al-Jazeera TV interviews Al-Qaradawi on Danish cartoons, English archbishop)