The Telegraph and Qaradawi

Ken with QaradawiAnother rant against Qaradawi – this time by Leo McKinstry.

“Hardline Egyptian cleric … Yusuf Qaradawi’s outlook is suffused with dogmatism, revenge and oppression … Yusuf Qaradawi’s bloodthirsty views … a group of Iraqi, Jordanian and Tunisian writers last year described him as one of the ‘sheikhs of death’ … Qaradawi has openly stated that the punishment for homosexuality should be death”.

The usual sort of rubbish, familiar from the productions of MEMRI and Outrage.

Daily Telegraph, 15 September 2005

Yet, less than two months ago, the same paper published the following characterisation of Qaradawi, by Hugh Miles:

“Although much of what the sheikh says may be hard to stomach by western standards, by regional standards he is a moderate. He condemned the London bombings, just as he quickly condemned the September 11 attacks. He has consistently said that Muslims need to think for themselves, which means they need be free of government control. This is not a message that goes down well with Arab governments.

“Al-Qaradawi has written at least 50 books attempting to reconcile Islam with democracy and human rights and he is one of the most important proponents of women’s rights in contemporary Islam. All this is utterly at odds with the teachings of fundamentalist imams, who see democracy and women’s rights as alien concepts imported from the infidel West. He practises what he preaches: his three daughters are highly educated. Each one holds a doctoral degree in the natural sciences, drives and works.”

Daily Telegraph, 20 July 2005

So what explains the discrepancy? Well, maybe that Miles – author of an informative study of the Arab TV station Al-Jazeera – actually knows what he is talking about, whereas McKinstry is just an ignorant right-wing bigot.

Mind you, McKinstry has his admirers – Brett Lock of Outrage, for example, gives his wholehearted endorsement to this reactionary hack. See Lock & Load, 15 September 2005

Over a year ago year, US radical Yoshie Furuhashi pointed out that Outrage’s attitude towards Muslims was not so far removed from that of the late Dutch racist Pim Fortuyn, and she expressed anxiety that Tatchell and his co-thinkers might go the whole hog and embrace the racist Right. I think we can now say that this process has largely been completed.