A Qatari newspaper has reported that Youssef Qaradawi has said that the major purpose of Muslim interfaith dialogue with Christians to “invite” them to Islam and “to stand up together against Zionism and the Israeli arrogance and tyranny.” In his statement, Dr. Qaradawi first responds to a question about conversion by saying that God has ordered Muslims to “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching”:
Dr Al-Qaradawi was asked: “Due to the great development of the modern media, there are networks engaged in proselytizing Christianity. Is there any harm in having a dialogue with them to know what they have and probably find a way to convert them to Islam?
He replied by saying: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate and peace be upon the Messenger of God. Dialogue with the People of the Book on matters of faith is not forbidden, according to the Islamic law. However, nobody should do that unless he is well versed in the rules and teachings of Islam and has knowledge of their beliefs, and provided he intends to do that for the sake of God and abide by the etiquette of communication by the modern electronic means, asking God to guide their hearts to the right path.” Dr Al-Qaradawi added: “We do not converse with the Christians so that they may be pleased with us. We only carry out dialogue with them in order to find common grounds that serve as a basis for further action. We should not take others as our enemies, as God says: ‘And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one.’ [Koranic verse; Al-Ankabut, 29:46] He went on to say: “So, God has ordered us to argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. We see that God laid down the principles of the Islamic preaching in the Koran when He says: ‘Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.’ [partial Koranic verse; Al-Nahl, 16:125]
Dr. Qaradawi later says “We do not engage in dialogue with them so that they may be pleased with our religion” but that “We only converse with them to find common grounds on which to stand together against atheism, obscenity, and grievances” identifying Palestine as the major such grievance:
He added: “The Koran says: ‘And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one.’ [Koranic verse; Al-Ankabut, 29:46] This means we should talk about the points that bind and the common grounds between them and us and not the points of difference. When you engage in a dialogue, try to establish common grounds between yourself and the other party and say: ‘We all believe in one God, so let us come to common terms.’ Al-Qaradawi said: “We do not engage in dialogue with them so that they may be pleased with our religion. They will not be satisfied with us unless we follow their form of religion. This is a fact. We only converse with them to find common grounds on which to stand together against atheism, obscenity, and grievances. We converse with them and ask them: ‘What is your stance on the cause of Palestine, the issue of Jerusalem, or the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque?’ We try to rally the Christians with us to stand together, especially for the cause of Palestine, since Palestine has both Muslims and Christians. We have to rally the Muslims and Christians of Jerusalem to stand up together against Zionism and the Israeli arrogance and tyranny. There is no objection to that.”
Youssef Qaradawi is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide stating only that
..he had consciously decided not to limit his scope of manoeuvre by tying himself ‘any movement which might constrain my actions, even if this is the Muslim Brotherhood under whose umbrella I grew and which I so defended…Would I, at the age of 77, accept what I turned down when I was 49?’
Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon.
(Source: Al-Watan website, Doha, in Arabic 5 Jun 09 BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring June 6, 2009 Saturday Al-Qaradawi urges rally of Jerusalem Muslims, Christians against Israel Text of report by Qatari newspaper Al-Watan website on 5 June [Unattributed report: “Stressing that Islamic Law Does Not Forbid Dialogue with the People of the Book on Matters of Faith: Al-Qaradawi: ‘We Have to Rally the Muslims and Christians of Jerusalem to Stand up Together Against Zionism'”]