Saturday, January 23, 2010

Doha: Top Scholar Slams Attacks on Christians in Muslim Countries

Doha, Jan 23 (Gulf Times) : Prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi yesterday denounced the recent violent attacks against Christians in Muslim countries, saying that most of these attacks were mainly due to “ignorance rather than intolerance” on the part of Muslims.

In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Qaradawi said Muslims should show respect to followers of other faiths since the “different religions” of the world were part of God’s will.

Qaradawi, who is the head of the Dublin-based International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), also lamented some Muslims’ ignorance of Islam.
He said Muslims are forbidden to have any prejudice against followers of other religions.

“According to the Qur’an, Muslims should not depart from justice even with those who hate them or to whom Muslims have aversion,” Qaradawi told a congregation at the Omar bin al-Khattab Mosque at Khalifa South town.

“No Muslim has the right to decide the result of the differences between the world’s religions. These differences would be only decided by Allah on the Doomsday as stated by the Qur’an,” he said.

The scholar, who is also the president of the European Fatwa Council, urged Muslims to help promote a culture of tolerance in the world, saying that dignity was bestowed by the Qur’an on all humans irrespective of their religious affiliations.

“In both the first and the last verse of the Holy Qur’an, Allah was mentioned as the God of all people irrespective of their faiths,” he added.
Giving an example of the tolerance of Islam, he referred to a Hadith which tells of Prophet Muhammad standing up for a funeral procession of a Jew to show respect.

“When the Prophet’s companions wondered how he stood up for a Jew’s funeral, he responded that it was for a human being. This Hadith was documented by both al-Bukhari and Muslim. It is not a fairy tale,” he said.

Referring to the recent killing of six Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt, Qaradawi branded the accused as a “thug”.

“The man who attacked Christians was motivated by revenge rather than religion since revenge is a deeply rooted tradition both among Muslims and Christians,” the scholar added. “It is not true that brotherhood is only between the faithful of the same religion. It can also exist between those of the same country as is the case with Egyptian Christians who are part of the country’s original people.”

On January 6, the eve of Christmas according to the Orthodox calendar, six Copts and a Muslim policeman were gunned down in front of a church.
Qaradawi also criticised the arson attacks by Muslims on churches in Malaysia, which were prompted by a controversy over the use of the Arabic word Allah by Christians.

“Allah is the God of all people on earth. Muslims are not fanatics but sometimes ignorance of the real Islam leads them to be so,” he added.
About the sectarian violence in Nigeria, he blamed it on “inter-class conflicts”, saying that it was more of a revolution by the poor against the rich rather than religious strife.