Egyptian media is reporting on comments by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi in which he said that building Christian churches in Islamic countries is acceptable “as long as it is authorized by the ruler.” According to by report in Bikya Masr:
CAIRO: A leading Islamic sheikh has said that the construction of Christian churches in Islamic countries is okay and that “there is nothing wrong” with building Christian houses of worship. Sheikh Yussif Qaradawi, who holds much weight in the Islamic world, made the comments following last Friday’s attacks by Muslim mobs on a Coptic Christian church in Upper Egypt. The clashes started early Friday after a group of Muslim men surrounded the Mare’e Girgues church in opposition to construction expansions happening inside the church. A number of the men reportedly attempted to attack the building. Others say others set parts of the church on fire, before turning to Coptic homes and shops in the town. Residents said the Muslim men are attempting to prevent fire fighters from reaching the burned out buildings and several shops owned by Copts were vandalized. “There is nothing wrong in building churches for Christian citizens if there is such a need because their numbers have multiplied or because they lack a place to worship as long as it is authorized by the ruler,” Qaradawi said. “This also applies to non-Muslims who came to a Muslim country for work or residence and have grown in numbers and need a church to worship.” The new fatwa issued, came after a question regarding the building of the first-ever church in the Gulf emirate of Qatar was posed. The land was given by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), said the presence of a Christian minority, whether it was of a local community or of expatriates, justifies this belief. “It is completely permissible that they should be allowed to have churches.”
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.