Interviewer: A young Nigerian man tried to blow up an American airplane. What is the origin of this behavior? What is your reaction? Who bears responsibility for this behavior?
Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Look, responsibility for this lies, first and foremost, with America. It is America that provoked the Muslims of the world with its positions that have nothing to do with justice. America always supports injustice and tyranny. It supports the Zionist entity. Responsibility lies, first and foremost, with the American positions. Then, there are the positions of the Muslims. The Muslims and their religious scholars also bear responsibility, as well as their leaders and the shameful positions of these leaders.
Every day we witness more positions like this, the last of which was the steel wall – the Wall of Death – which they want to build between the brothers in the Egyptian Rafah and the Palestinian Rafah. I’d like to tell you a story. The first time I visited Gaza was in 1957, after my release from military prison. They told me: “This is the Rafah border.” It was merely a wooden barrier that they lift to let you through. I was standing there, between the two parts of Rafah – one foot in Egypt and the other in Palestine. There are no borders. These countries and borders are artificial. They were drawn up by Sykes and Picot and by colonialism. It was all one country, which the jurisprudents used to call Dar Al-Islam [“The House of Islam”], and not “The Houses of Islam.”
It is these positions that provoke these young men. I denounce this, of course. I denounce any action like the hijacking or bombing of an airplane. More than 20 years ago, I issued a fatwa, categorically prohibiting the hijacking of airplanes. What have the passengers done to deserve having their plane destroyed, or having any of them killed? It is not their fault. You should not punish them for something done by others. However, we must search for the deep-rooted reasons for this indiscriminate, futile, or violent behavior. This behavior has not emerged out of the blue. It has its reasons. If we want to treat something, we must treat its reasons.
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. 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. Qaradawi has written that all Jews and all Muslims will fight each other in a final battle in which Muslims will emerge victorious.