In a recent television interview on Al-Jazeera, global Muslim Brotherhood leader reacts to questions related to the ongoing Danish cartoon controversy by blaming “crusader trends”, “Zionism”, and fear of Islamic expansion. For example, when asked about the political reasons for “offending Islam And Muslims”, Qaradawi replied by discussing what he called fear and ignorance of Islam and curiously cited three early Islamic military leaders as examples of what the West fears:
They fear Islam. They now call this Islamophobia. They are terrified of this religion and of the possibility that it might emerge once again, lead the world, and conquer the world as it did in the past. They fear the emergence of people like Tariq Bin-Ziyad, Saladin, Khalid Bin-al-Walid, and other leaders. They even fear the increase in the number of Muslims in Europe.” … There is also rancour against Muslims. There is a crusader trend, which means rancour. The Crusades were motivated by rancour against Islam. Some people confuse Christianity and the Crusades. However, there is a big difference between the two. Christianity means amity and tolerance.” He adds: “This rancour is inherited. Some people have continued to have the spirit of Crusades until today. The other issue is arrogance. The Westerners believe that they are the masters of the world and that Europe is the mother of the world. coordination among the people working in this field.
He goes on to blame Zionism for the “plots” against Islam, suggesting somewhat ambiguously that Islamic “minorities” in the West should somehow play a role in combatting these plots:
There are also the Zionist artful plots. Zionism is hostile to Muslims in the world. The Zionist lobby is doing all this everywhere. All these are reasons for these bad positions on Islam, the nation of Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the Book of Islam….we should double our efforts” to explain Islam to non-Muslims, and there should be coordination among the people working in this field….The position of the religion is that we should reply to the act in the appropriate way. It is unreasonable to allow Zionism tamper with our fates and sanctities while we are standing idly doing nothing. We should adopt a position on this…We have minorities in America, Europe, Australia, Latin America, and the Far East, and many other minorities. These minorities should play their role in this.
When asked about how to confront the “anti-Islam campaigns,”, Qaradawi says that he does not allow violence but appears to object mainly on tactical as opposed to ethical grounds:
I do not prefer or permit this, especially since this will not solve the problem. On the contrary, this worsens and complicates the problem. This adds fuel to fire and serves the trend that accuses Muslims of violence. However, sometimes you cannot have control over the people who are angered by such acts, particularly if the offence is very serious. Such people might say that they [the offenders]disdain Muslims and slander Islam, and that if someone attacks your religion you will have the right to attack him. We cannot prevent such individuals from doing so. However, I do not issue a fatwa [formal religious ruling]on this or ask Muslims to kill others in other countries. If a Muslim makes an offence in our countries we will bring him to face trial. However, we should resort to the legal ways to bring those who offended the nation of Islam and the sanctities of Islam to court.
He goes on to reiterate his support for international laws that would ban such cartoons and appears to show no understanding of freedom of speech issues in the West which he mischaracterizes:
We have for some time been calling for an international legislation to prevent such acts. The problem of the Westerners is the freedom of creativity. However, I can see no creativity in offending the great prophets of the nations. This means that you escalate the conflict among nations at a time when we call for peace, tolerance, and amity. This is a call for hatred and grudges.
In the interview, Qaradawi also outlines what might be characterizes as an outline for a political and economic “jihad” against the cartoons:
So that our reactions will be effective and not emotional, there should be various reactions. We have the political reaction, which is basically required from the governments. They should stand against those who offend the Prophet, may God’s peace and blessing be upon him. Denmark is a small European country, but it defies an entire nation and a population of 1.5 billion people. Where are the Muslim rulers? We have over 50 Islamic states and it would be good if each state said that this is unacceptable because you have offended us, something which will lead to severing relations between us and you. It would also be good for each state to expel ambassadors and close embassies. There must be a strong political reply that rises up to the level of the offence….There is also a popular stand. The peoples should send cables denouncing these acts. The Internet can also be used to do so….There is also the economic reply. In the previous time, we called for economic boycott. Any country makes a premeditated offence and insists on it and refuses to apologize to Muslims should be boycotted economically. Why should I purchase goods from a country and allow it to make a profit at a time when it offends my prophet and religion? This began in the previous time and is still continuing, though weak. We should reactivate this issue and revive the boycott. This is effective….there is also the artistic and media reply.”
(Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1905 gmt 24 Feb 08 BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political February 25, 2008 Monday Al-Qaradawi advises legal, diplomatic, economic responses to anti-Islam offences [Al-Jazeera’s “Life and Religion” talk show featuring an interview with Scholar Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi on “Anti-Islam Campaigns” and “ways to confront” them] Doha Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 1905 gmt on 24)