According to a press release, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the UK and Ireland is “disappointed” in the decision by the Irish government to ban Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi from entering the country. According to the release:
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 17:45 The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the UK and Ireland has voiced its disappointment at the Irish Government’s refusal to grant Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi entry into the country. FOSIS spokesperson, Amandla Thomas Johnson said, “Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi is a distinguished scholar whose views are respected by Muslims from around the world. It is a shame to see that yet another prominent Muslim figure is being targeted due to his religious convictions.” Thomas-Johnson added, “The opinions of Sheikh Qaradawi are often regarded as a voice of moderation, specifically his firm support of Muslim integration into Western societies. He has frequently and decisively condemned acts of violent extremism, and has authoritatively rejected claims that terrorism is acceptable in Islamic law. His influence spans into Muslim communities around the world; indeed shortly after the Egyptian revolution, it was he that addressed the liberated millions in their Friday sermon – such is the status he holds.” Thomas-Johnson concluded, “Like the British Government before them, the Irish Government have begun to tread a precarious path by ignoring the fundamental right of individuals to express themselves freely. As long as an individual does not infringe against the law, it is crucial that we allow for a diverse range of ideas and views to be presented for a democratic, respectful and free society”.
A previous post discussed the decision by Ireland to ban Qaradawi and reported that the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland (ICCI), the center of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in Ireland, refused to criticize Qaradawi.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite 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 leadthe 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. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.
A report by the Center for Social Cohesion, describing FOSIS as an umbrella grouping of most major university Islamic societies in the U.K., has outlined its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and concluded that ISCC’s (campus Islamic societies) and FOSIS members are more likely to hold intolerant views:
Significant minorities of Muslim students – and particularly younger ones – support violence in the name of Islam, endorse punishing Muslim apostates “in accordance with the Sharia” and believe that men and women are not equal in the eyes of Allah and should not be treated equally. Comparable minorities, around 10 percent of Muslim students, also have little or no respect for Jews, atheists or homosexuals and support Islamist proposals such as re-creating the Caliphate, introducing Sharia law to Britain and establishing an Islamic political party. Sizable numbers, between 20 and 30 percent of Muslim students, also hold intolerant attitudes towards minority forms of Islam such as Shi’ism and Sufism. The report additionally suggests that active members of Islamic Societies are more likely than other Muslim students to hold such intolerant views – notwithstanding that active ISOC members are also more likely to believe that democracy and re-interpreting the Sharia are compatible with Islam. ISOC leaders and former members make up the membership of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). However, as only a minority of Muslim students are active members of ISOCs, FOSIS’ claims to represent British Muslim students should be treated with caution. Treating FOSIS as representative of all Muslim students risks disproportionately empowering a small number of highly conservative, and sometimes Islamist, individuals at the expense of ordinary Muslims. At the same time, a significant minority of non-Muslims polled had a hostile view of Islam, being less respectful towards Muslims than towards other minorities such as Jews, homosexuals and atheists. Non-Muslims are also more likely to believe that the narrow and intolerant interpretations of Islam promoted by Islamist and conservative groups represent the “true” Islam: for example, more than half of non-Muslims polled believe that Islam favours inequitable treatment of women and is incompatible with secularism. This strongly suggests that Islamist groups and the ideas they promote are partly responsible for the intolerance found on campuses towards Muslim students and their religion. The poll results also indicate that a large proportion of Muslim students, up to 40 percent depending on the question, are undecided on key issues such as the legitimacy of religious violence, respecting others and whether Islam is compatible with secularism.