Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a man of contradictions

 A contemporary of the late Queen has died. His name meant nothing to me when the death was announced, until I did some searching in my archives. They reminded me that he had been refused a visa to enter the UK for medical treatment because of his extreme anti-Semitic utterances. Where this visceral hatred of fellow Children of the Book came from is not clear. It certainly goes beyond those Jews seen as exploiting Palestinians. He was also a homophobe, as shown by these exchanges. A visa ban was also issued by France.

And yet, within the Muslim community he held liberal views. He condemned female genital mutilation (FGM), death by stoning, the violent actions of the so-called Islamic State and the devastation of New York's World Trade Center (9/11). His support for (peaceful) uprisings against tyrannies in the Islamic world saw him imprisoned by successive dictators in Egypt, his homeland, and only exile in Qatar prevented his execution at the behest of the latest, el-Sisi. 

Much as he earned condemnation for his views on Judaism, he was a major figure in the realm of Islamic scholarship and deserves more recognition in the West for that at least.

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