Monday, June 19, 2006

Qaradawi: So Many Ways to Kill Gays, I Have to Choose Just One?

In an interview with Al-Jazeera this month, which I found translated on MEMRI TV, Cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi rails against gay people. Quotes:

Kerry, who ran against Bush, was supported by homosexuals and nudists. But it was Bush who won [the elections], because he is Christian, right-wing, tenacious, and unyielding. In other words, the religious overcame the perverted. So we cannot blame all Americans and Westerners.

[A homosexual should be given] the same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator...The schools of thought disagree about the punishment. Some say they should be punished like fornicators, and then we distinguish between married and unmarried men, and between married and unmarried women. Some say both should be punished the same way. Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement...The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.

[The Islamic position on public displays of homosexuality is that it] is the calamity
of societies. When sin and abomination are concealed, they don't cause much harm...But the calamity becomes widespread, when it stops being a secret and vecomes public...We are not hostile towards these people. On the contrary, we pity them. But we do not want to give them an opportunity, like the Westerners, who consider this a normal phenomenon, and it has become widespread, I'm sad to say.
Hmm...pity equals stoning? Let's not forget that al-Qaradawi has previously advocated the assassination of leaders in other Arab countries; he's not a completely ethical guy.

In the interview, he couldn't differentiate between a tendency for homosexuality and the act of having homosexual sex, a rather simple difference. Also, for al-Qaradawi, lesbians aren't homosexuals (someone should tell them that). Is that inherent sexism? Is he saying that lesbianism is not as bad as male homosexuality because what women do has always been less important?

In many instances, it seemed he did not understand the interviewer, or simply wanted to bulldoze his diatribes over him. Some say al-Qaradawi is moderate, some say radical. I say senile. I mean, look at his picture - can't you just picture him screaming at a toaster or talking about how the Ottomans will win World War One? I think his grip on reality might be loose.

Update June 30:

Look here.


Blogger mike davis said...

Congratulations on your very good site. I have just found it. I am in Australia but have been to Israel and Palestine and have excellent, fond memories of both peoples and of Jerusalem.

I hope you keep up this site, as it is necessary for people to know the facts about the situation of gays and lesbians in Palestine.

Keep strong and don't let the difficult days get you down.

Mike Davis

June 19, 2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Ahmad said...

It's funny how he said we should throw them from high places and then at the end of the clip he said we have nothing against these people in fact we pity them.. This guy has a lot of compassion. Unfortunately a lot of people follow this crap.

June 20, 2006 3:38 AM  
Anonymous Rasheed Eldin said...

As an Arabic speaker and apparently thoughtful person, I'm surprised and saddened that you have relied only on the MEMRI translation rather than consulting the source.

I have presented my analysis of Qaradawi's comments on that programme, over at my blog, "Eye on Gay Muslims" (

I'd be interested in your feedback after you've expanded your awareness and understanding of what he said.

June 28, 2006 12:09 AM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

Dear Rasheed,

The reason I used the MEMRI article was because I did not have the time to translate the entire al-Jazeera article myself, as I had to with an al-Arabiya article I discuss later. Even you didn't want to translate the entire al-Jazeera article. But I did consult the source, and I found the MEMRI translation adequate. Here's why:

You say that shawaadh and al-shudhoodh can be translated as perverts as well as homosexual. This is true. But I find it hard to believe that al-Qaradawi was discussing pedophiles, as every question later directed at him was clearly about homosexual activity. I mean, the interview discussed an upsurge of public displays. I don't think pedophiles are comng out into the open.

Secondly, al-Qaradawi uses such terminology because he's against gay rights. For those who are for gay rights, there are better terms, like the admittedly awkward mithliyoun junsiya, which is beginnning to be widely used, even by anti-gay al-Arabiya.

Thirdly, you say these words are justifiable by religion, whch I disagree with. There are always different perspectives on religion, even in Islam. If you want to bring up anti-gay spiritual leaders to bolster your stance that Islam does not accept gays, I can bring up pro-gay ones who disagree. Plus, even if any people disagree with accepting gay people, they (and you) can still use terms that don't diminsh their humanity.

Fourthly, your justification of his terminology does not make what he said any better. If I say "I want rabbit for dinner" or "I want a fluffy white bunny for dinner", it's all the same in the end.

Finally, there was one thing you did which I liked - your extrapolation of al-Qaradawi's call for punishment, which was abridged in MEMRI. Here it is:

“There is disagreement, so it is possible for us to choose from them in our era what is most appropriate, and what is lightest, recognising how widespread the tribulation is: because tribulations and sins being widespread is something in Islamic legal theory that causes things to be lightened. The important thing is to consider/treat this act as a crime.”

That was somthing I wish I had mentioned.

June 28, 2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Rasheed Eldin said...

First of all, let me make clear that I, like al-Qaradawi, am opposed to homosexuality, even if my way of addressing the subject may differ in some ways.

Secondly, I have chosen to ignore your pathetic personal insults against him, despite them revealing more about your ignorance than harming his reputation as possibly the most erudite Muslim scholar alive today. It is only for this reason that he is singled out by people who hate Islam, whether among the homosexuals or the Zionists (who are happy to work together as we saw back in July 2004 when he last visited London).

My blog post aimed to discuss what al-Qaradawi said in that programme, which included a very crucial point, which you should have noticed and which should change your opinion somewhat. Al-Qaradawi stated clearly that he prefers to take the LIGHTEST option in punishment in this matter, not the most brutal, as you and others have suggested.

As for my comments about shawaadh etc. - read my post again: I didn't say that he was referring to paedophiles. No, he was definitely referring to homosexuals. You missed my point entirely. Feel free to read again to understand what I was getting at.

Finally, let me say that if you want to engage in dialogue with religious people, you need to be willing to consider other ways of thinking - and other kinds of terminology. Al-Qaradawi - and I - may be "against gay rights", as you say, but more to the point, I as a Muslim have a completely different conception of sexuality than what campaigners like you have developed in these recent years.

Al-Qaradawi did not make a "call for punishment": he is not a politician. He was explaining the Islamic position, and he was and is completely right. If you don't agree with the religion, that's one thing. But twisting things or "finding me someone" to contradict this established view doesn't change the religion or the truth.

June 30, 2006 2:45 AM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

Since when is there one version of Islam, why do you get to claim it? If there were one version of Islam, there wuld be no Sunni, no Shi'a, no Druze, no Wahabi, and no Sufi, but just one sect. Who are you to say what is correct?

"Al-Qaradawi did not make a "call for punishment": he is not a politician. He was explaining the Islamic position, and he was and is completely right. If you don't agree with the religion, that's one thing."

He wasn't explaining the Islamic position, he was explaining an Islamic position. There's a huge difference.

Why should you get to decide who's Muslim and who's not? Or which conception of sexuality is Muslim and which isn't. You can't just say something is Muslim because you say so.

Also, if you can't make your points clear in your writing, don't yell at me for not understanding.

And don't get me started on the whole July 2004 thing. Just because Jews and gay people were both offended by al-Qaradawi does not mean that they are interlocked in this great anti-Islamic conspiracy. Save such bunk for the tabloids.

June 30, 2006 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Taleb Haqq said...

That's quite interesting. All the "versions" of Islam that you cited are opposed to homosexual acts. What Qaradawi represents is, by far, the most popular and most established of Islamic thoughts. I don't think we can disagree on that. As for the word "shaath"...the meaning of it in the Arabic language is not at all humiliating. What it means is "outside the norm" or "not following rules". It is also used in the Arabic grammar to identify exceptions to established grammar rules.
You and I both know the power of the media (especially you being in Lebanon, the media centre of the Mideast) so when there is a mistranslation (in this case most likely DELIBERATE on the part of MEMRI) we know that something bigger is at play here, not tabloids or conspiracy theories, but a strong effort to try and sideline Shaykh Qaradawi, the most popular of Islamic scholars of our time.

June 30, 2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

It's only in the last hundred years that Islam has been so vehemently anti-gay, and a lot of it stems from the East's desire to distance itself from the West.

There are gay stories in One Thousand and One Nights. Sufis used to look on the faces of handsome youths to find Allah. There are hundreds of stories of gay Caliphs. Moreover, look at the quote on the right of the page from Ibn al-Jawzi. Many versions od Islam are opposed to homosexual acts, but in most sects in history, they haven't been. The article on Queer Sexuality an Identity in the Qur'an and the Hadith even gives a good claim that homosexuality isn't totally forbidden in the Qur'an because they were seen as baing outside the heterosexual male-female dichotomy. (I'll post on the Qur'an someday).

July 01, 2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Rasheed Eldin said...

The last hundred years?! It's only in the last few years that such ridiculous claims as that have been made by the charlatans who want to justify their choice to disobey Allah.

Look at ANY of the tafseers done by classical Qur'anic scholars on the story of the people of Lut (AS). Look at ANY of the verdicts given by the great Imams of the Ummah in any period of history, and you will find that homosexuality is described as an evil aberration, and the one who practices homosexual acts should face worldly punishment (while scholars differed on what this should be).

Quoting poetry is all very well, but at least admit what a flimsy argument it is, in the face of what actually is ISLAM, not just a matter of culture among Muslims. You talk about differing interpretations, but you don't seem to notice that POETRY is much more open to interpretation than the Islamic texts!

Sunni, Shi'a, Wahhabi, Sufi, we are ALL opposed to homosexuality - and just try to prove me wrong without citing poetry!

July 01, 2006 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Taleb Haqq said...

Islam is based on the Qur'an and Hadtith and not on the poetry of people (thank God for that). Even so, the quote attributed to Ibn Jawzi doesn't justify homosexual acts at all! He is stating that young boys are beautiful. From reading other posts on your website I'm not sure if you ascribe to the Islamic faith yourself as in one of the posts you seemed to be promoting sex in public bath houses etc. Islam does not allow any form of sexual acts outside the institution of marriage...there is no "reinterpretation" there. So, even if Ibn Jawzi found the youth attractive, he most certainly would not promote any sexual acts with them! As for this whole thing being 100 years old as you mentioned, Ibn Katheer (whose tafseer of the Qur'an is the most famous) lived over 700 years ago...and you can check out anywhere on the internet what his tafseer says about the verses on homosexuality.

July 02, 2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

What I was saying is that even though there have always been anti-gay teaching by Islamic leaders, society in Islamic cultures was much more pro-gay than it has been recently. Why do you think gay Europeans took refuge in North Africa in the Middle Ages? Why do you think many belly-dancing masters in Egypt were men? Why do you think Abu Nuwas was allowed to practice freely?

Islamic cultures used to allow choice, and was more forgiving. Islam was prescribed, but not enforced in such a blanket-like manner as it is now in places like KSA and Iran. Much of this new form of Islam is due to the emergence of the nation-state and technology which allows greater control of the masses. Before, that was not possible.

Furthermore, the body of a religion is more than just doctrine issued by its scholars...that would be a rather pale and dead interpretation. Whether you like it or not, religion also includes the believers, be they more or less conservative than doctrine. And, until a hundred years ago, they tended to be less.

Finally, pro-gay personae from the past (and there were quite a few) have been lost in Islamic history due to reformists who want to pretend like they never existed.

An not ALL Muslims are anti-gay, as you say, Eldin, check out this article.

July 03, 2006 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam Al Fil,

The works of Jala ud Din Suyyuti, regard the story of Lut as one of rape and so do the works of Imam Tabari (Tarikh Al Tabari), which refernces the opinions of the Companions including Mother Aisha (RA).

Khaled El Rouhayeb's book contain references to scholars (including a Damascene scholar of Aleppo) who discuss the issue of sex with male servants.

Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800


Yes it is true that Classical scholars more or less prescribed punishment on the act, but think of it. Hanafis contemplated liwat in Paradise, Ibn Hazm advocates a punishment of 10 lashes, compare that with the minimum hadd of 40.

Al Razi, Hunaian Ibn Ishaq and Qusta Ibn Luqa suport the fact that homosexuality results when the maternal sperm prevails over the paternal sperm.


I suppose just as there has been an evolution of thought on hjab, women leading prayers, apostasy, so too there can be one here.

But the main question would be, do we confine ourselves by the Classical paradigm or appreciate the new works of the Contemporary school, the principles of which are being laid by scholars like Fazlur Rahman, Khaled Abou Fadl, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi et al.

If Imam Shawkani can disagree with earlier Imams on apostasy, If Abu Thawr and At-Tabari can disagree with earlier Imams on women leading prayers, if Sheikh Tantawi can disagree on Misyar and Ribba, then why can't there be disagreement on this issue?

February 21, 2007 11:55 PM  
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July 07, 2009 4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe that with all the science which proved that one is gay genetically and even looking by eyes at a person you see he is mentally and phisically gay, meaning one is made gay by Allah this Qardawi rants against them or Allah.
I have been tought that Islam is rational and scientific religion. This guy disregards islamic principles and he is not what he sais that he is. Just ignore him.

February 26, 2011 12:45 PM  

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