New Age Islam
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The War Within Islam ( 16 Dec 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Rise in Sunni–Shi'ite Tension: Hacker War on the Internet, problems in Saudi Arabia, Al-Qardawi’s stance

The conflict between Iran and Sunni countries - especially Saudi and Arabia Egypt - has escalated the tension between Sunnis and Shi'ites in the Muslim world. This escalation has had several manifestations. Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, made harsh anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iran statements in the Egyptian and Saudi press. He warned against the danger posed by the spread of the Shi'a in Sunni countries, characterizing it as part of Iran's campaign for regional hegemony. He added that there was no possibility of rapprochement between Sunnis and Shi'ites, since there were fundamental principles of the Shi'ite faith that the Sunna could not accept.

 

The sectarian tension is also mirrored on the Internet. Hundreds of websites associated with either the Sunna or the Shi'a - including sites of clerics, papers and government ministries - have been hacked, and defaced with offensive messages and images.

The Arab press reports that the Saudi authorities have been discriminating against Shi'ites in the country, e.g., by preventing Shi'ite representatives from participating in the June 2008 Interfaith Dialogue Conference in Mecca, closing Shi'ite mosques, arresting senior Shi'ite clerics, and persecuting Shi'ite pilgrims from Iran. -- L. Azouri, a research fellow at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

URL of this page: http://www.newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/rise-in-sunni–shi-ite-tension--hacker-war-on-the-internet,-problems-in-saudi-arabia,-al-qardawi’s-stance--/d/1058

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Recent Rise in Sunni–Shi'ite Tension (Part I): Sunni – Shi'ite Hacker War on the Internet

By: L. Azouri, December 16, 2008

 

Photo caption: Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, a prominent contemporary Muslim scholar

 

Introduction

The conflict between Iran and Sunni countries - especially Saudi and Arabia Egypt - has escalated the tension between Sunnis and Shi'ites in the Muslim world. This escalation has had several manifestations:

 

I. Anti-Shi'ite Statements by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, made harsh anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iran statements in the Egyptian and Saudi press. He warned against the danger posed by the spread of the Shi'a in Sunni countries, characterizing it as part of Iran's campaign for regional hegemony. He added that there was no possibility of rapprochement between Sunnis and Shi'ites, since there were fundamental principles of the Shi'ite faith that the Sunna could not accept. Despite strong criticism of his statements by Iranians and Shi'ites in the Gulf, Qaradhawi only reiterated them, refusing to either retract them or apologize.

 

II. Cyber war between Sunni and Shi'ite Hackers

The sectarian tension is also mirrored on the Internet. Hundreds of websites associated with either the Sunna or the Shi'a - including sites of clerics, papers and government ministries - have been hacked, and defaced with offensive messages and images. Among the prominent Sunni websites that have been attacked are the Saudi Al-Arabiya website, the website of former Saudi mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Baz, the website of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Religious Endowments, and a website of the Saudi Higher Education Ministry. The Shi'ite websites that have been targeted include those of the supreme Shi'ite religious authority in Iraq, Ayatollah 'Ali Hussein Al-Sistani, a website of the Shi'ite community in Egypt, and many others.

 

III. Sunni-Shi'ite Tension in Saudi Arabia

The Arab press reports that the Saudi authorities have been discriminating against Shi'ites in the country, e.g., by preventing Shi'ite representatives from participating in the June 2008 Interfaith Dialogue Conference in Mecca, closing Shi'ite mosques, arresting senior Shi'ite clerics, and persecuting Shi'ite pilgrims from Iran. In addition, Saudi Sunni clerics have made anti-Shi'ite statements, accusing the Shi'ites of heresy and of trying to take over the Muslim world. Some clerics have even condemned initiatives for Sunni-Shi'ite rapprochement aimed at easing the tension between the two sects.

 

The following report deals with the Sunni-Shi'ite cyber war. Reports about the other two manifestations of Sunni-Shi'ite tension will be published in the next few days.

 

Sunni and Shi'ite Hackers Wage War in Cyberspace

 

The Sunni-Shi'ite cyberwar started in 2007 when a group of Sunni hackers calling itself "XP Group" threatened to attack all Shi'ite websites on the Internet, and proceeded to hack some 120 Shi'ite sites. At this point, representatives of the targeted sites, headed by Shi'ite sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar, filed a lawsuit in Saudi Arabia against a member of the XP Group named Na'if Al-Ghamdi. According to recent reports on Sunni forums, Al-Ghamdi has been arrested, and has disclosed the names of 17 other hackers operating in Arab countries. [1]

However, XP Group is not the only player in the arena. In May 2008, a group of Iranian hackers called "Ashiyane Digital Security Team" attacked the website of the UAE daily Al-Khaleej. Users who accessed the homepage found the image below:

The image is a map of Iran, with the Gulf labeled "Persian Gulf," rather than "Arabian Gulf" as it is called in the Arab world. Above the map is a message in English, saying: "The correct name is 'the Persian Gulf,' which always has been, and will always remain, Persian."

Another message planted on the site proclaimed that the attack had been carried out by Mazhar Fashist, a member of Mafia Hacking Team Iran. [2]

Sunni Hackers: Electronic Jihad against the Shi'a Brings One Closer to Allah

In response to this incident, a number of Sunni hacker groups pledged to retaliate against Shi'ite sites. Among them were two groups called Shabab Al-Salafiyin and Al-Ayyoubiyoun. The latter declared on various forums that the war against Shi'ite sites was a form of jihad that brought one closer to Allah. The threats were realized in August 2008, when a group of Egyptian and Saudi hackers attacked the Shi'ite sites Fatimid Egypt, Egyptian Shi'a, and others. This prompted a Shi'ite group, Shabab Al-Shi'a, to threaten further attacks against Sunni sites. [3]

 

Shi'ite Cleric: The Hackers Will Not Silence the Shi'ite Voice

The cyber war between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites intensified following statements by prominent Sunni sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in September 2008 against the spread of the Shi'a in Arab countries and against the Iranian regime, whom he accused of being behind this phenomenon. [4] The Sunni XP Group now hacked some 300 Shi'ite sites, including those of Ayatollah 'Ali Al-Sistani, the leading Shi'ite cleric in Iraq; prominent Saudi sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar; Ayatollah Muhammad 'Ali Taskhiri, secretary-general of the World Assembly for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought; and Ayatollah Sheikh Nasser Makarem Shirazi, one of the ayatollahs of Qom, Iran. The targeted sites were defaced with messages in Arabic maligning the Shi'ite faith and Shi'ite leaders. On Al-Sistani's site, the hackers also planted a satirical video deriding the sheikh.

 

Website of Ayatollah Al-Sistani after the hacker attack [5]

Ayatollah Shirazi condemned the attack on his site, saying that the perpetrators were extremists who wanted to keep the voice of the Shi'ite leaders from being heard around the world. The attacks, he added, only proved that the Shi'a was the right faith, and would cause more young Sunni Muslims to turn towards it. [6]

The Shi'ite hacker group Ashiyane Digital Security Team now launched a counter-attack on 77 Wahhabi websites, including those of prominent Sunni clerics such as former Saudi mufti Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Baz. They also hacked sites inciting against the Shi'a. The targeted sites were filled with colourful images of important figures in the Shi'ite faith, such as Hussein and 'Ali, along with a message saying "this is only the beginning [of the Shi'ite attack]," and the Koranic verse "One who attacked you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you... [Koran 2:194]." At the same time, members of Shi'ite forums called to form "bases" where experienced Shi'ite hackers would offer instruction in how to destroy Sunni sites. [7]

 

Shi'ite hackers also attacked the website of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Religious Endowments, replacing its homepage with the image below. [8]

 

Concurrently, a hacker calling himself "The Iranian Defense Force" hacked dozens of Wahhabi Sunni sites, including the site of Wahhabi sheikh 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Dimashqiyya; the popular Sunni forums Al-Sunna, Al-Sirdab, and Al-Burhan; the site of Sheikh Faleh Al-Saghir; and Islam Net, the website of Saudi preacher Sheikh 'Aidh Al-Qarni. Users who accessed them saw the following image:

 

The face has an Iranian flag superimposed on it. In the background is a torn Israeli flag and a map labeled "the Persian Gulf." Sheikh 'Aidh Al-Qarni stated in response to the attack that hacking websites was an aggressive and depraved act, at odds with Tehran's calls for cooperation and coexistence between Shi'ites and Sunnis. [9]

Shi'ite hackers also managed to bring down the site of the popular Saudi TV channel Al-Arabiya (www.alarabiya.net), planting the following image in its front page:

 

The image shows a burning Israeli flag, accompanied by a message in Arabic and English saying, "Serious warning: If attacks on Shi'ite websites continue, none of your websites will be safe." [10]

Also targeted was a site of the Saudi Higher Education Ministry dedicated to the teaching of Arabic. The website, founded by the minister and sponsored by the Saudi king, is a resource for students, teachers and researchers, with over 4,000 texts and a search engine. Its manager, Dr. Salah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Nassar, stressed that the site had nothing to do with sectarian strife. [11]

 

Egyptian Columnist: Hacking Websites Is No Less a Crime than Murder or Arson

 

Egyptian columnist Diana Muqallid wrote about the cyber war in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "It seems that the groups inciting sectarian [hatred] in our countries do not only blow up mosques and Shi'ite places of worship, and send out suicide [bombers as part of their] extremist war. The reciprocal killing in Iraq, the clashes in Lebanon, and the suspicion prevailing in many of the countries where Sunnis and Shi'ites live [side by side] are not enough for them - they must also [find other ways to] express their extremist sentiments, which are fuelled by radical political views... Battles between Sunni and Shi'ite sites are being waged [on the Internet], with each side virtually killing and harming the other by targeting the websites of religious figures, political leaders, and media outlets such as www.alarabiya.net...

"Some still believe that hacking [sites] on the Internet is not a real or a serious [crime], but things are not so simple... Destroying a website or hacking it in order to keep people from entering it is [no less a crime than] murder, siege and arson. It is an act of negating the other. In our lifetimes, [we have seen] journalists murdered, incarcerated, tortured and exiled. Media outlets have been closed in our region or placed under supervision [and their premises] have been burned down. Electronic attacks convey the very same sentiment of wanting to negate the other..." [12]

 

L. Azouri is a research fellow at MEMRI.

 

[1] www.yahosein.com.

[2] www.elaph.com, May 21, 2208.

[3] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), August 10, 2008.

[4] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2080, "Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in Interview with Egyptian Daily: Mubarak Should Step Down and Should Not Pass Presidency to Gamal; The Spread of the Shi'a Is A Danger," October 16, 2008, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP208008.

[5] www.naharainnet.net, September 24, 2008.

[6] www.alarabiya.net, September 20, 2008.

[7] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), September 27, 2008.

[8] Al-Jarida (Kuwait), October 3, 2008.

[9] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 29, 2008.

[10] www.alarabiya.net, October 10, 2008. Prior to the attack, the site was criticized by Shi'ites in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria, who accused it of anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iranian bias. A prominent Iranian Majlis member said that Al-Arabiya was an agent of the CIA, since it aired anti-Iranian content. Al-Arabiya, for its part, reports that Iran has expelled its correspondent from Tehran and declared him persona non grata (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, and October 12, 2008). In response to the hacking of its site, Al-Arabiya stated that it would continue its tradition of moderate, balanced, and objective reporting and of upholding professional ethics (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 11, 2008).

[11] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 15, 2008.

[12] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 16, 2008.

Source: http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA48008

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Recent Rise in Sunni–Shi'ite Tension (Part II): Anti-Shi'ite Statements by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi

By: E. Glass, December 16, 2008

 

For several months now, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), has been attacking the Shi'ites and Iran. In an interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm, published September 8 and 9, 2008, he stressed the danger posed by the spread of the Shi'a in the Sunni countries. [1] Over the following weeks, he continued the campaign with additional interviews and communiqués in the Egyptian and Saudi press, in which he further condemned the Shi'a and also accused Iran of spreading it in order to realize its "imperialist aspirations."

Al-Qaradhawi's statements evoked numerous reactions in the Arab and Iranian press, most of them negative. Prominent Iranian and Shi'ite figures harshly criticized Al-Qaradhawi, and prominent Sunnis expressed only reserved support, tempered by concerns about possible exacerbation of the strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The Muslim Brotherhood movement was especially critical; although Al-Qaradhawi is regarded as one of its long-standing spiritual leaders, the movement leadership did not support his statements on the Shi'a and even explicitly renounced them.

Despite the criticism, and despite the fact that Iran offered to issue a formal apology for some of the harsh statements against him in response to his attacks, Al-Qaradhawi has refused to retract his statements against the Shi'a and Iran and to end the conflict with the Iranians. [2]

 

Al-Qaradhawi's Statements

Shi'ites Are Trying to Infiltrate Sunni Society

In his September 8-9, 2008 interview with Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Al-Qaradhawi was asked who posed a greater danger to Islam - the Wahhabis or the Shi'ites. He replied: "...The Shi'ites is Muslims, but they have strayed far [from the truth]. The danger they pose lies in their attempt to infiltrate Sunni society. They are [well] equipped for this [task], having great wealth, estimated in the billions [of dollars], as well as a legion of missionaries trained to spread the Shi'a in Sunni countries... I recently discovered to my sorrow [that there are] Shi'ite Egyptians. In past decades, the Shi'ites could not get even one Egyptian [to embrace the Shi'a]. From the days of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyoubi [in the 12th century] to 20 years ago, there wasn't a single Shi'ite in Egypt. Today they write in the papers and appear on TV, and publicly profess their Shi'ism..." [3]

In response to criticism evoked by his statements, Al-Qaradhawi only reiterated his position. In a communiqué, he wrote: "I stand by my statements about the Shi'ite attempts to infiltrate Sunni societies. It is the duty [of the ulema] to come out against this - for if we fail to do so, we betray the role that has been entrusted to us and our obligation to the Muslim nation. My warnings about this invasion are intended to open the eyes of the nation to the dangers it is facing..." [4]

 

Sunni Society Must Wake Up to the Danger

In an interview with the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Qaradhawi stated that rapprochement between the Shi'a and Sunna was impossible and that the spreading of Shi'a in a Sunni country was tantamount to an invasion of that country and its society. He said: "If a [Sunni] society notices [attempts to] spread the Shi'a within it, it will react with opposition and hostility." About Iran, he said that it had imperialist aspirations which went back to the ancient Persian era and the Sassanid period, and that it spent millions or even billions on spreading the Shi'a. Consequently, he said, anyone who embraced the Shi'a became loyal to Iran rather than to his own country, like the Shi'ites in Lebanon, who felt closer to Iran than to their Lebanese brothers.

Al-Qaradhawi added that he was willing to conduct a dialogue with members of any faith, including polytheist faiths such as Buddhism, but not with "the oppressive Zionists or the Shi'ites, who sought to infiltrate [Egypt]." As for his warnings about the danger posed by the Shi'a, he said that they were meant "to prevent greater fitna [internal strife] in the future," and were made "out of foresight and in preparation for the future." [5]

In an interview with Al-Watan, he reiterated that Shi'ite activities in Sunni countries were backed by "a country with strategic goals, which was enlisting the [Shi'ite] faith in order to realize its desire to expand and enlarge its sphere of influence..." He added: "I want to cry out and warn my people and nation about the raging fire they may face unless they wake from their drunken slumber... Anyone who doubts my words need only look at what is happening in Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and in other Muslim countries in Africa and Asia, including even Palestine..." [6]

Iranian Reactions to Al-Qaradhawi's Statements

 

Iranian News Agency: Al-Qaradhawi is speaking Like a Jewish Rabbi

Iran retaliated by attacking Al-Qaradhawi, focusing on the religious aspect of the debate and disregarding the political angle. The Iranian news agency Mehr stated that Al-Qaradhawi's warnings about the spread of the Shi'a were akin to the talk of Jewish rabbis, and were aimed at creating a rift among the Muslims and igniting sectarian strife. Mehr added that Al-Qaradhawi must abandon his extremist attitudes towards the Shi'a. [7]

Al-Qaradhawi's statements were also condemned by Shi'ite scholars, such as Lebanese cleric Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah and Iranian Ayatollah Ali Taskhiri, deputy secretary-general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, which Al-Qaradhawi heads. They objected to Al-Qaradhawi's use of the term 'missionary activity' to describe the spreading of the Shi'a in Sunni countries, since it is associated with Christian proselytism. Taskhiri contended that "Al-Qaradhawi's statements promoted strife and [therefore] contravened the aims of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, of which he is the head." [8] Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, said that Al-Qaradhawi had become a pawn in the hands of the Wahhabis, and called on him to repent and to retract his statements. [9]

 

The Iranian Apology, Subsequently Denied

In mid-October 2008, a high-ranking Iranian delegation attended a conference in Doha organized by the International Union for Muslim Scholars (which has both Shi'ite and Sunni members). According to a report in Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, the delegation, which included Khomeini’s senior advisor Ali Akbar Velayati, submitted an official apology to Al-Qaradhawi, stating that "those who associate Al-Qaradhawi with Zionism are [only] the Zionists themselves." The delegation also explained to Al-Qaradhawi that Mehr's views did not represent those of official Iran. [10] Mehr, in turn, reported that the journalist who had attacked Al-Qaradhawi had been fired, and characterized his article - which, it claimed, had been posted without the knowledge of the management - as "contravening [the principle of] Islamic unity." [11]

Al-Qaradhawi rejected this attempt at appeasement, and refused to sign a joint statement with the Iranian delegation to the effect that the conflict between them had ended, unless the Iranians promised to cease spreading the Shi'a in the Sunni world and to eradicate the Shi'ite custom of cursing the Prophet's companions. [12] In response, the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh denied that an apology had ever been made, asserting that all reports to that effect were false. [13]

The International Union for Muslim Scholars concurred with Al-Qaradhawi's position regarding the spread of the Shi'a in Sunni countries, and required Tehran to apologize to him and to punish Mehr. The closing statement of the Doha conference stated, reflecting Al-Qaradhawi's position, that if a country followed a certain religious school of thought, it was forbidden to spread another in that country, for this jeopardized the unity of the [Muslim] nation. [14] This closing statement was adopted despite efforts by a minority group within the Council, headed by its secretary-general, Dr. Muhammad Salim Al-'Awa, to suggest a more moderate and less categorical phrasing. [15]

 

Shi'ites in Qatar Call to Revoke Al-Qaradhawi's Citizenship

Shi'ites in the Gulf States supported Iran's position. A group of Shi'ite lawyers even filed a lawsuit against Al-Qaradhawi in the Doha court, calling to revoke his Qatari citizenship and expel him from the country for instigating civil strife. [16]

Kuwait's most prominent Shi'ite cleric, Muhammad Al-Mahri, called Al-Qaradhawi various names implying that he was an apostate and an enemy of Ahl Al-Bayt. [17] Al-Mahri stated: "We openly announce that [Al-Qaradhawi] has become a nasibi [a term applied by Shi'ites to enemies of 'Ali bin 'Abu Talib and of Ahl Al-Bayt], and that we therefore demand that Al-Azhar divest him of his religious authority and prevent him from appearing in the media." [18]

 

Sunni Support for Al-Qaradhawi

Several Al-Azhar scholars expressed support for Al-Qaradhawi, characterizing Iran's statements against him as "foolish" and based on "blind extremism." However, some of these scholars also criticized Al-Qaradhawi, arguing that his position as head of the International Council of Muslim Clerics required him to promote unity in the Muslim world, rather than attack the Shi'a. [19]

The Egyptian organization Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya also supported Al-Qaradhawi in a communiqué that stated: "The Muslim ulema attained their exalted position only... by fulfilling their duty, which is to see dangers in advance and warn people [about them]..." [20]

 

A group of 5,000 Pakistani clerics likewise issued a communiqué expressing solidarity with Al-Qaradhawi and accusing Iran of "helping the imperialist powers to destroy Afghanistan and Iraq." The communiqué also accused Iran of "using the Shi'ite minorities in Sunni countries to promote its own national goals," and of "supporting - and even heading - murderous terrorist organizations that kill Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." [21]

The Qatari organization "Supporters of the Sunna," as well as Salafi groups in Kuwait, also sided with Al-Qaradhawi, and condemned the Shi'ites in their countries and in Iran for attacking him. [22] Subsequently, a group of 29 Sunni ulama from several Arab countries demanded that Iran issue a formal apology to Al-Qaradhawi, warning that it would be responsible for any harm that might come to him as a result of the Shi'ite fatwas pronouncing it licit to kill him. [23]

 

The Muslim Brotherhood Renounces Al-Qaradhawi

Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef initially refused to comment directly on the Al-Qaradhawi's statements. In reference to the affair, he only denied accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood had abandoned Al-Qaradhawi in his confrontation with the Shi'ite ulama, [24] and added: "[The Shi'ites] are Muslims [like us]. They have their own faith, but they worship Allah and follow the creed of the prophet Muhammad... [The conflict] between the Sunna and Shi'a, especially in Iraq and Lebanon, is nothing more than a political conflict which has nothing to do with Islam and its schools of thought... A guiding principle of the Muslim Brotherhood is rapprochement between [religious] streams..." [25] Later, sources in the Muslim Brotherhood leadership issued a more explicit response to Al-Qaradhawi's claims. They stated that the Office of the Supreme Guide renounced Al-Qaradhawi's views on Iran and the Shi'a. [26]

 

However, others in the Muslim Brotherhood movement - albeit not in the leadership - took a different view. A group of 40 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, all of them from the media and academia, issued a communiqué titled "Statement to the Muslim Nation from Pupils of Imam Al-Qaradhawi and Ones Who Love Him," in which they expressed unreserved support for his views. [27]

 

Al-Qaradhawi's Son: I Am Proud to be Shi'ite

 

In the wake of Al-Qaradhawi's statements, there were reports in the media that his son, the poet 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi, had converted to the Shi'a, and that this was the motivation for the father's anti-Shi'ite campaign. These claims were denied by Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi as well as by Dr. Muhammad Salim Al-'Awa, deputy secretary-general of the Council of Muslim Clerics. In an Al-Masri Al-Yawm interview, Al-Qaradhawi said that these rumours were "nonsense aimed at diverting attention from the main issue..." He added: "My son is indeed a great admirer of [Hizbullah Secretary-General] Hassan Nasrallah, emblem of the resistance. He has frequently been invited to South [Lebanon], and has dedicated a book of poems to the resistance [i.e. to Hizbullah] - but all this does not mean that he has become a Shi'ite..." [28]

Al-'Awa told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that he had met with 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi, and that the latter had categorically denied the rumours about his conversion, and had even said that he planned to sue the news agencies that spread this rumour. [29]

 

However, according to the Iranian website Jahan News, 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qaradhawi said at a conference in Lebanon that he was proud to be Shi'ite, and that the request he has recently received to convert back to the Sunna was nothing but an insult to Shi'ites. [30] Unlike previous reports, this report did not evoke a denial.

 

E. Glass is a research fellow at MEMRI

 

[1] For information on the interview, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2080, "Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in Interview with Egyptian Daily: Mubarak Should Step Down and Should Not Pass Presidency to Gamal; The Spread of the Shi'a Is A Danger," October 16, 2008, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP208008.

[2] It should be noted that in late 2006, Qaradhawi made similar statements against the Shi'a, sparking a heated debate in Egypt. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 311, "Debate over the Status of Shi'ites in Egypt," December 27, 2006, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA31106.

[3] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), September 8, 2008; September 9, 2008.

[4] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), September 18, 2008.

[5] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 25, 2008.

[6] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 10, 2008.

[7] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), September 13, 2008.

[8] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 19, 2008.

[9] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), September 22, 2008.

[10] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), October 14, 2008.

[11] Mehr (Iran), October 15, 2008.

[12] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 15, 2008.

[13] www.rasid.com; Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), October 15, 2008.

[14] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 17, 2008.

[15] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 15, 2008.

[16] www.islamonline.net, September 23, 2008.

[17] Ahl Al-Bayt (the descendents of the Prophet Muhammad) are revered in Islam in general, but have a special status in the Shi'a, which regards them as the only legitimate heirs of the Prophet.

[18] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), October 11, 2008.

[19] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 19, 2008.

[20] www.egyig.com, September 20, 2008.

[21] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), October 13, 2008.

[22] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), October 14, 2008.

[23] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), November 2, 2008.

[24] www.alarabiya.net, September 25, 2008.

[25] Al-Dustour (Egypt), September 25, 2008.

[26] Roz Al-Yousef (Egypt), October 4, 2008.

[27] Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), September 27, 2008.

[28] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 12, 2008.

[29] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 8, 2008

[30] Jahan News (Iran), November 22, 2008.

Source: http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA48108

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Eminent Sheikh Youssuf Al Qaradawi

31/05/2004 12:00:00 AM GMT   

(muslimmedianetwork.com)

Sheikh Youssuf Abdullah Al-Qaradawi is one of the prominent contemporary Muslim scholars who has a huge amount of books published in different languages all over the world.

 

Sheikh Youssuf Abdullah Al-Qaradawi is one of the prominent contemporary Muslim scholars who has a huge amount of books published in different languages all over the world.

 

Sheikh Youssuf Al-Qaradawi was born in 1926 in a small village in Western Egypt. He memorized the Holy Qur'an at the age of 10.

 

In 1953 he graduated from the Department of Basics of Religion of the oldest and the most famous Islamic university Al-Azhar.

 

In 1954, Sheikh Al Qaradawi received his certificate on graduating from Arabic Language Department, when he won the first place among 500 students, after which he headed the Institute of Imams at the Waquf Ministry of Egypt (or Ministry of Religious Endowments). Afterwards Sheikh Al-Qaradawi worked at the Department of Islamic Culture at Al-Azhar University.

 

In 1961 Youssuf Al-Qaradawi headed Religious Institute in capital of Qatar, Doha. In 1973 he established the Department of Islamic Research at the University of Qatar and was in charge of that Department. In the same year he brilliantly defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "Role of Zakat in the Solution of Social Problems".

 

In 1989 Sheikh Youssuf found the Research Center of Sunnah and Biography of the Prophet at the University of Qatar, which he is in charge of up till now. After founding the European Council on Fatwa and Research, headquartered in Dublin, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi has been in charge of that body since 1997.

 

Sheikh Youssuf is a great orator, publicist, prominent writer, poet, lawyer, and professional expert in various areas of Islamic sciences. Sheikh Youssuf Al-Qaradawi is the author of over 80 fundamental monographs that are famous all around the world. Many of his books became real bestsellers of modern Islamic thought. They were published dozens of times and translated to many languages to reach out to the whole world.

 

Youssuf Al-Qaradawi has the reputation of an Eminent Islamic preacher and scholar, who does not accept any extremes. Sheikh Youssuf follows Prophet Mohammads precept to stick to the principles of 'Ummah of the middle". In his views he combines the traditions and the modern times, while stressing on rational perception of goals and priorities of the Shariah (God's Commands) , which brings harmony between the invariability of Islam and changes that the modern era brings. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi draws inspiration from the history of Islam; he is coexisting with the present and looking into the future.

 

Sheikh Youssuf Al-Qaradawi was among the Islamic scholars who affirmed that the struggle in Chechnya is indeed a Jihad (Fighting for the sake of Islam). However, it is clear for Muslims of Chechnya and for Muslims all over the world that their fight against the Russian aggressors is legitimate and rightful. But no doubt Fatwa of Sheikh Youssuf Al-Qaradawi has huge psychological and political meaning. It is not only a reminder to the Muslim nations, oppressed by the Russian oppression, about their obligation, but it is also an alarm to the Muslims who are still looking for an excuse for their inaction and cowardice by futile debates on whether it is considered a Jihad in Chechnya or not.

 

However, Sheikh Al Qaradawi is against killing the innocents. He denounced the attacks against civilians in the U.S. during September 11th attacks, and called on Muslims all over the world to donate blood to the victims of the attack. He was quoted saying "Our hearts bleed for the attacks that has targeted the World Trade Centre [WTC], as well as other institutions in the United States despite our strong oppositions to the American biased policy towards Israel on the military, political and economic fronts.

 

Among his views is that everyone has the freedom of choice. Allah The Most High does not restrict anyone in freedom of choice, however, everyone is responsible for his choice.

 

Source: kavkaz.org.uk

URL of this page: http://www.newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/rise-in-sunni–shi-ite-tension--hacker-war-on-the-internet,-problems-in-saudi-arabia,-al-qardawi’s-stance--/d/1058


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