Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2012
Salute to Shaikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi:
Non-Palestinian Muslims Should Not Visit Occupied Jerusalem
By Khalid Amayreh
PIC, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 9, 2012
We Salute Shaikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi
Shaikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi is undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable living Muslim religious scholars in the world today. He is the author of dozens of books on all aspects of Shari'a, Islamic thinking, and philosophy. At 85, he continues to enrich the world with his brilliance, sagacity, and thoughtfulness. His televised weekly show "Al-Shari'a wal-'Hayah" is a real gem and food for thought for both the educated and commoners, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Dr. Qaradawi, who has long been imprisoned, persecuted and harassed by tyrannical Arab regimes, including the regimes of Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat and especially Husni Mubarak, played a vital and pivotal role in inspiring the Arab Spring. He continues to issue inspiring calls to Muslim people struggling for freedom, dignity and democracy in various parts of the world.
In recent weeks, the Shaikh has been under fire from several quarters, including, the French government, some Shiite and pro-Iranian circles, a United Arab Emirates security chief and the Wakf minister of the Palestinian autonomous authority.
The Shaikh, like all of us mortals, is not infallible. He doesn't claim to be infallible or perfect.
However, there is no iota of doubt that he stands on a higher moral ground, especially when compared to his critics, whose main credentials range from ignorance to mendacity.
Let us begin with the recent tirade launched against the Sheikh by the Palestinian Authority's minister of Wakf and Islamic affairs who called the Shaikh during a Friday sermon "divisive and sowing discord."
The verbal abuse against al-Qaradawi came after the eminent scholar issued a fatwa or edict ruling that it is not permissible for non-Palestinian Muslims to visit occupied Jerusalem lest such visits contribute to normalizing relations between Israel and the Muslim world.
Qaradawi argued that "why should we have Muslims from all over the world visit Jerusalem when Palestinian Muslims living in the vicinity of al-Aqsa mosque in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are barred from accessing the holy city by the Israeli occupation authorities.
The Sheikh argued that "we should not break the psychological barriers between Muslims and the Zionist entity. They are our enemies and we shouldn't normalize relations with them."
The Sheikh's words are axiomatically veracious because, in the final analysis, recurrent visits by Muslims to a Jerusalem that is thoroughly fettered by the Israeli occupation and raped by it would have a definitive normalizing effect.
The visit might, at least subconsciously, convince some visiting Muslims, especially from faraway Muslim countries, that the situation is not that intolerable and that a certain modus vivendi with Israel could be preferable to an all-out Muslim effort to liberate the city from the Zionist-Jewish stranglehold.
Jerusalem and Palestine will not be helped, let alone liberated, by a few thousand disoriented Muslim tourists who would spend a few hours in the holy city watching the first Qibla of Islam being raped, molested and moaning of pain.
Besides, these so-called tourists would soon return to Tel Aviv to slowly experience life in the only true democracy in the Middle East, not knowing that every town, village or Kibbutz they encounter while traveling through "Israel" was established on the ruins of an Arab town, village or hamlet.
I am not opposed to communication between individuals and nations. But Israel is not a normal nation. It has never been a normal nation.
The truth of the matter is that Israel is a crime against humanity. It was founded on the basis of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and lies. It massacred our people, destroyed our homes and villages, and then expelled millions to the four winds.
Muslims must never ever normalize relations with an entity as such. We must not commit fornication with our Muslim honor and dignity by kissing the hands of our tormentors and grave-diggers.
Yes, Palestine is occupied by Zionist Jews who have amassed an overwhelming power and have at their beck and call power nations, such as the United States.
But so what? Where is the Roman Empire, where is the British Empire? Where is Napoleon Bonaparte? Where is the Soviet Union? Where is Adolph Hitler?
I have no doubt that Israel is an artificial entity that won't be able to withstand the test of history. It is an entity that is bereft of justice, morality and humanity. It is a brat, as ugly as the objective historical circumstances that gave birth to it. It will have to go; it will go.
As to the unrelenting campaign of vilification, insinuation and smear by some pro-Iranian circles against Sheikh Qaradawi for siding with the victims of oppression, tyranny and sectarianism in countries such as Syria, there is no doubt that the Iranian attitude is indefensible, morally scandalous and decidedly un-Islamic to say the least.
What is Qaradawi, who consistently supported a constructive Sunni-Shiite dialogue based on mutual respect and Islamic authenticity, supposed to do when he, like hundreds of millions of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, watch thousands of children and civilians being mercilessly killed by a Nazi-like regime in order to keep his sect in power?
Is he supposed to pretend that the massacres are happening on a different planet? Is he supposed to consign his honesty and rectitude to indefinite dormancy or hibernation?
Qaradawi, like many Sunni Muslims, supported Iran during confrontations with the West. He is not making a favor to Iran for doing so; he is only doing his religious Muslim duty.
But Iran and her mainly sectarian allies and supporters are going too far. Because a Yazid who is nominally Shiite is no lesser evil than a Sunni Yazid. A genocide doesn't become benign when it is perpetrated by Shiites.
More to the point, some Shiite circles are effectively justifying the abominable sectarian genocide in Syria by invoking the Palestinian struggle. Well, since when the just Palestinian cause justified murderous repression of Arab people by their regimes?
We Palestinians refuse to see our cause being manipulated this way. We reject repression and mass murder in Palestine's name.
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