An Indian Muslim news portal has reported on remarks at the recent Saudi-sponsored interfaith conference by Nihad Awad, one of the leaders of the U.S. Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), in which he blamed “extraordinary freedom” for the AIDS disease and suggested that “dissemination of religious values” is the solution. According to the report:
Dr. Nihad Awad, Executive Director Council on American-Islamic Relations, USA, presented his paper on Ethical Reality in Contemporary Human Society. He said that ethical values differ from one society to another, nevertheless they are similar to each other. He pointed out that moral concepts are universal values that we find in Islam as well as in other religions. He clarified that extraordinary freedom has led to many diseases such as AIDS; however, these can be treated through dissemination of religious values.
The CAIR leadership are not theologians and do not appear to have made a great number of comments about matters of theology. However, a number of CAIR leaders have made comments strongly indicating fundamentalist views that have been frequently cited by the organization’s critics. On July 4, 1998, the San Ramon Valley Herald, a local California newspaper, published an article about an “Islamic School Study Session” entitled “How We Should Live As Muslims in America.” The article stated that at this gathering, CAIR Chairman Omar Ahmad:
-Urged Muslims “not to…assimilate to American society but instead to ‘deliver Islam’s message.’”
-Urged “Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing their faith with those with those who “are on the wrong side. ”
-Said “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant…The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
-Said “one of the challenges is understanding the totality of Islam. Don’t come up with an opinion and find out the things that support it in Islam…
Mr. Awad’s remarks would seem to be consistent with the notions expressed above by suggestion that “religious values”, presumably Islamic values, are the answer to AIDS.
Among his remarks in a lecture entitled, “Perspectives on Islam and Arab Society,” Qaradawi said the West has a number of moral crises that foment conflict with the Arab world. He said a lack of values and church-going, materialism, discrimination and homosexuality disgrace the West and denigrate its position in global politics. He did not, however, attribute the same crises to the Arab world.“ The Arab world has a scarcity of moral crises,” Qaradawi said through a translator to a group of about 50 attendees, including bootcampers. “Religious and spiritual values don’t exist in the West as they do here.”
In a 2004 fatwa (Islamic ruling) posted online, Qaradawi appears to be calling for the death penalty for homosexuals:
Muslim jurists hold different opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.”
In a November 2002 interview on al-Jazeerah TV, Dr. Qaradawi referred to CAIR as “our brothers there [in America], in the Council of American-Islamic Relations.” A search of Islam Online, a website associated with Youssef Qaradawi, reveals many hundreds of references to CAIR.