Various media are reporting on a fatwa (Islamic ruling )issued by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi permitting the construction of churches in Islamic countries under specified conditions. According to a report from Islam Online:
Prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi approves building churches for Christian citizens of or residents in Muslim countries to meet their needs just as Muslims are being allowed to build mosques in the West. “There is nothing wrong in building churches for Christian citizens if there is such a need because their numbers have multiplied or because they lack a place to worship as long as it is authorized by the ruler,” Qaradawi said. “This also applies to non-Muslims who came to a Muslim country for work or residence and have grown in numbers and need a church to worship.” Protection of Non-Muslims’ Places of Worship Religious Freedom in Shari`ah Minorities in Islam The fatwa came in response to a question regarding the building of the first-ever church in the Gulf emirate of Qatar. The land was given by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), said the presence of a Christian minority, whether it was of a local community or of expatriates, justifies this. “It is completely permissible that they should be allowed to have churches.”…Sheikh Qaradawi, the IUMS president, also approved for Muslims to participate in building churches. “If we allow them (Christians) to build churches in Muslim countries, then participation in the construction is also approved though many scholars would not like Muslims to do that.” Sheikh Qaradawi noted that scholars have been divided on the issues of allowing churches in Muslim countries and Muslims participating in the construction. He noted that of the four main schools of Islamic thought only Imam Abu Hanifa approves this. Qaradawi based his view, which goes in line with Abu Hanifa’s, on the Muslim principle of equal treatment. “Just like they allow Muslims in their countries to build mosques for prayers.
Qaradawi’s views on the rights of non-Muslims in Muslim societies were spelled out in his 1997 book entitled “The Rights of Non-Muslims in Society” (Ghayr al-Muslmein fi el-Mujtama` al-Islami) which was reviewed by Islam Online, an Islamic news portal associated with Sheikh Qaradawi.