Lying for Islam
THE Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has a passion for newts. Which probably goes a long way to explain his fondness for another slippery little creature called Dr Yusuf al Qaradawi.
The slimy Qaradawi has enjoyed Livingstone’s hospitality, and has even been publicly embraced by the Mayor, who regards him as a “moderate” Muslim. It is true to say that this “world-renowned” Egyptian “scholar” has, on his visits to the UK, made all manner of soothing noises.
But Qaradawi is a double-dealing fraud: what he says outside of Britain is another kettle of amphibians altogether.
When he visited the UK in 2004, he was attacked by a number of groups who accused him of using fatwas and other public statements to advance intolerant beliefs. Qaradawi has supported suicide bombings, and more specifically the killing of Israeli children, as well as American civilians in Iraq.
In his book, The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, Qaradawi supports the execution of all males who engage in homosexual acts. He has also stated that he “personally supports” female circumcision, albeit one of the less extreme forms of female genital mutilation.
He has said that Muslims who have turned away from their faith “deserve killing”. Although Qaradawi says that he believes that domestic violence is undesirable, he has supported a husband’s “light beating of a difficult wife”.
Qaradawi has also made some unequivocal statements about secular democracy:
Secularism may be accepted in a Christian society but it can never enjoy general acceptance in an Islamic society.
Since Islam is a comprehensive system of Ibadah (worship) and Shariah (legislation), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shariah, a denial of the Divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions.
Clearly, Qaradawi is a master of the art of al-takeyya – the Islamic principle of lying to the infidel. Abdullah Al Araby, writing in Islam Review, explains that:
Unlike most religions, within Islam there are certain provisions under which lying is not simply tolerated, but actually encouraged. When dealing with Muslims, one must keep in mind that Muslims can communicate something with apparent sincerity, when in reality they may have just the opposite agenda in their hearts. Bluntly stated, Islam permits Muslims to lie anytime that they perceive that their own well-being, or that of Islam, is threatened.
It therefore came as no surprise to discover Qaradawi’s fingerprints all over the attempts at blackening Denmark’s image throughout the Muslim world over those cartoons.
According to various news reports, last December Qaradawi was among a number of senior officials and prominent Islamic scholars who were handed a dossier concerning the Jyllands Posten cartoons by a delegation of Danish Muslims, led by controversial Copenhagen cleric Abu Laban .
The dossier turned out to be distinctly dodgy. It included three grossly offensive and pornographic depictions of Mohammed, which had never appeared in the Danish paper – or anywhere else. Only then did all hell break loose.
Later, in interviews in Denmark, Laban, said, in English, that he “regretted” the boycotts of Danish products, and would personally do nothing to harm Denmark or its economy. He was immediately exposed by Danish television as an out-and-out liar and hypocrite – a seasoned practitioner of al-takeyya. The man who once declared that “mockery against Mohammed deserves the death penalty” was shown speaking in Arabic, in full support of the boycott, on al Jazeera TV.
When interviewed last month on the BBC Radio 4 programme Denmark: In the Eye of the Cartoon Storm, Laban was unable to give a satisfactory explanation for the three additional cartoons in his delegation’s dossier, other than to say they were there simply as examples of Danish “Islamophobia”.
I may be way off beam here, but it seems more than a tad suspicious that the cartoon controversy erupted months after the cartoons first appeared – and had been reprinted, apparently without fuss in an Egyptian newspaper – at the precise moment that the British government was making a last-ditch attempt to pass incitement to religious hatred legislation.
Indeed, a day before New Labour’s shock defeat over the Bill, resulting in a much-emasculated version being passed, the Saudi-based Arab News ran a leader in which it stated:
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s categorical refusal to apologise on the [cartoon] issue because it would be against the laws on freedom of speech is disingenuous. It would be perfectly within the bounds of political propriety for him to say how appalled he was, and that the editor of Jyllands Posten should go. That would come well within the bounds of his freedom of speech.
In any event, if it does go against the law, the answer is simple: change the law. Follow the British example: outlaw religious hatred. Once Prime Minister Tony Blair gets a new religious hatred bill through Parliament, it will be a criminal offence in the UK to publish cartoons like the Danish ones.
Blair understands there are limits to freedom of speech, just as there are to freedom of action; people do not have the right to stir up riots and racial hatred, encourage mass hysteria or heap abuse on religion any more than they do to rob, rape, cheat or kill.
Arab News added:
Were Prime Minister Rasmussen to follow Blair’s lead and introduce a similar law in Denmark, Muslim anger would vanish, not least because the UK bill, although protecting all religions from attack, is in fact designed specifically with Islam in mind.
Rasmussen has to think about Denmark’s political and economic interests. But he needs to realise what Tony Blair has realised – that Muslims are now an integral part of his country and that to attack their faith is to attack them. Freedom of speech has to be balanced by the freedom not to have one’s faith abused and ridiculed.
Clearly, the Muslim world had high hopes for the Bill. I am certain that Qaradawi and his poisonous cronies, key players in generating the mass hysteria which subsequently cost almost 100 lives, cynically did so in order to help New Labour get its misbegotten legislation through.
And they hoped that other countries would follow the British example. Denmark just happened to be a convenient whipping boy. The whole issue may well have blown over if Blair had not signalled, time and time again, his government’s willingness to appease a religion which brooks absolutely no criticism, but demands the right to lash out, with complete impunity, at anyone who does not treat Islam with grovelling reverence.
John O’Sullivan, writing in National Review Online, observes that:
The Danish cartoons were not all as crude and pointless as some critics have alleged in their earnest search for reasons to hold ‘both sides’ guilty. One cartoon shows the Prophet with his turban evolving into a bomb. Insulting? Maybe. Blasphemous? Perhaps.
Or maybe a perfectly fair comment on the arguments of radical Islamists that their religion justifies the murder of innocent bystanders; on the subsidies that Muslim governments give to suicide bombers, and on the thousands of Muslims baying for blood (and occasionally obtaining it) in response to a caricature.
He points out that by adding three additional cartoons to the dossier:
The radical Islamists committed the very blasphemies that they now use as an excuse for attacks on Danes and Christians. Vile though it is, this trickery at least demonstrates the uselessness of appeasing their demands for censorship.
If they are granted, our concessions will merely be the springboard for a further attack on Western liberty. And if we disobligingly refuse to furnish them with a pretext, the Islamists will manufacture one as Hitler used to manufacture border incidents in order to justify his planned aggressions. So we might as well fight in the first ditch rather than the last.
Stick to the newts, Livingstone, they might be slippery little buggers with forked tongues, but at least they aren’t deadly!
• This op-ed first appeared in the Freethinker in 2006