Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and an organization of scholars which he leads, have issued further statements on the Swiss decision to ban new minaret construction. In one set of statements, Qaradawi and the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said “extremists and far-right racists” had exploited fears of Muslims and that the decision threatened interfaith dialogue. According to a report on the statements carried on Islam Online:
Muslim scholars have criticized a blanket Swiss ban on the building of mosque minarets as a serious violation of the Muslim minority’s rights and a precedent that may undermine interfaith dialogue. “The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has received the outcome of the minarets ban referendum with shock and surprise,” the Dublin-based IUMS said in statement mailed to IslamOnline.net…”I was greatly sadden by the result of this referendum,” Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, IUMS president and chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, said in a separate statement. He expressed fears that the anti-Muslim ca fears the anti-Muslim campaigns might move from rejecting minarets to opposing mosques….Muslim scholars said the ban showed the extent of Islamophobia in the West. “This exposed the blatant contradiction between Switzerland’s rhetoric about democratic values and religious freedom and conducting a referendum that violates all human rights and religious freedom covenants,” said the IUMS. “The extremist and racist rightists had exploited fear of Islam and Muslims.”…Muslim scholars cautioned that the far-right anti-Islam campaigns are threatening to undermine years of dialogue between Muslims and Christians. “The result of this referendum will raise questions about the feasibility of rapprochement and dialogue between Muslims and the West,” IUMS said. “If Muslims’ places of worship have become a matter of debate and referendums, so on what basis will dialogue be held.” The Dublin-based umbrella of Muslim scholar warned that such provocative moves would only play into the hands of extremists on both sides. It urged the Swiss government not to allow far-rightists to threaten the Muslims’ integration. “The government should take all necessary measures to fight this animosity towards Muslims which was clear in the media campaign that preceded the referendum.”
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Although the organization is registered in Dublin at an important mosque complex associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, there is no indication that any IUMS activities are actually conducted from that location.
In another report on the statements, Qaradawi and the IUMS (identified here as the International Federation of Ulema), Qaradawi is said to have urged Swiss Muslims to remain calm and suggested that the Swiss decision is related to the Danish cartoons controversy:
Qatar’s prominent Islamic scholar and chairman of the International Federation of Ulema (IFU) Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has urged the Muslims of Switzerland to seek the annulment of the ban on the construction of minarets on mosques in that country, according to reports published in the local Arabic press. Addressing a message to the Muslims of Switzerland in the context of the referendum in which 57.5% of the Swiss people voted for the ban, Sheikh Qaradawi said: “Consider yourself as an integral part of the society you live in; be loyal, honest and sincere to your country of domicile. You should work hard and be perfect in whatever work you do for the sake of the progress and betterment of that country. Do not be upset by those who want to antagonise and frustrate you. Indeed you should try to reason with them in a calm and composed manner. Be tolerant and patient whenever you feel hurt and let down. “The IFU is of the view that this decision, irrespective of the fact that it has been taken on a majority vote, is a new form of animosity against Islam and Muslims in Switzerland. The rest of Europe may perhaps follow suit as indicated by Denmark. It has hailed this vote and announced that it will make a similar move. “It is obligatory on the part of the Swiss government to take necessary measures to safeguard the lives of the Muslim minority against this animosity. “The IFU urges the Muslim minority in Switzerland to be calm and restrain from emotional reactions. They should seek to have this decision annulled through legal and democratic channels. And work in co-ordination with all those local and international organisations that have deplored this decision. “The IFU also calls upon the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to launch an international campaign against this decision and to expose the double standards practised by the Western countries.”