A good contrast between pragmatism and raw religious hatred came in recent statements from prominent Sunni voices.
Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide and popular Al-Jazeera program host, appeared on the network earlier this month to defend Hamas as “nothing but a group that is defending itself, defending its country, defending its brethren, defending its honor, defending its (Muslim) Ummah.” It is not, he added, a terrorist group.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism translated Qaradawi’s remarks. He also said Hamas “did not fire at anyone. It’s only defending itself. Doesn’t Gaza have the right of self defense? People want Hamas exposed. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu said Hamas received building blocks and used it to build the tunnels. No, they built many things that they ought to, and built-among many things, the tunnels. They don’t want [Hamas] to have the tunnels to protect them; they want Hamas to remain exposed to their cannons, bombs and jets, from the land, and from the sea and from the air. They want it to be bombarded while exposed so they can kill whomever they want. Is this logical?”
Qaradawi also published an anti-Semitic forgery which purports to show Benjamin Franklin warning his countrymen about “the danger of the Jews. In every land in which the Jews have settled, they have depressed the moral level, and corrupted commercial conscience.”
Even the American Muslim website acknowledges the Franklin statement “has been debunked many times over the past 80 years, and still it keeps coming back. Such bigotry is really difficult to stamp out.”
That seems especially true when it comes from someone as renowned as Qaradawi. As we have noted repeatedly, many American Islamists hold Qaradawi up as a moderate scholar, overlooking his fatwas justifying attacks on American troops, suicide bombings in Israel and his stated desire to kill Jews.
A retired Saudi Arabian admiral and columnist, meanwhile, makes it clear he has no love for Israel, but says Hamas is to blame for the current conflict and that it is time to recognize reality. “Israel is a state that will continue to exist, a state that the entire world respects more [than it respects] its Arab neighbors,” ‘Umro Al-‘Amery wrote in a Facebook post highlighted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “There is nothing for the Palestinians to do but negotiate for better conditions – but not with this path [of violence]…
Hamas and other jihadi groups “have never, not for one single day, been interested in the welfare of Gaza’s residents; they are interested only in slogans and rhetoric,” Al-‘Amery added.
In a reply to a comment, he dismissed Islamist slogans that religion offers the solution to the conflict. “But Islam is not the solution. Islam is a religion, whereas secularism and democracy are the solution, as in all countries whose people enjoy wellbeing, peace, and religious faith, and Malaysia is a model [worthy] of emulation for us.”
This article originally appeared at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.