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Al-Qaradawi's Fatwa - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I do not know if what has been attributed to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is true; in any case we have become accustomed to the politicization of religious fatwas. A news item reported in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper revealed that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi had issued a fatwa prohibiting Iraqis from acquiring US citizenship on the grounds that this is the nationality of an occupier nation. However this fatwa has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, and contains more political absurdity then it does religious guidance. Sheikh al-Qaradawi himself is an Egyptian who possesses Qatari nationality, which was given to him after he opposed the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. However when an Israeli office was opened in Doha, al-Qaradawi did not renounce his Qatari nationality. This is a personal issue that does not concern us as much as we are concerned with the usage of religion, especially the weapon of the fatwa, in highly politicized cases.

Perhaps Sheikh al-Qaradawi would be right to resort to the dangerous weapon of fatwas if there were a large number of citizens being granted naturalization, or if there were forced relocations to America, or if the Iraqi nationality was being revoked, but none of this is happening. In fact, the opposite is true, for of the thousands of Iraqi citizens who queue up to apply for visas to Western countries, only a few are granted. Therefore obtaining US or European citizenship is not – as Sheikh al-Qaradawi imagines- easy, but rather is a difficult process that is rarely granted to applicants. This is even more difficult for the Iraqis due to the large number of Iraqi refugees, including those seeking asylum abroad. The British Foreign Ministry raised the issue of repatriating its Iraqi refugees, as did the majority of Western countries. This is opposite to what Sheikh al-Qaradawi seems to think [with regards to Western countries wanting to naturalize Iraqi citizens]. These states are full of refugees and immigrants, and they offer financial incentives for them to return to their countries of origin.

After the US announced their withdrawal from the Iraqi cities earlier this year, a group of Iraqi interpreters [who worked for the US army] asked to be given visas and employment in the US on the grounds that they feared reprisal attacks following the withdrawal of US troops, however only a few interpreters were granted with visas. Similarly, the international organizations that seek to aid Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan by helping them to secure asylum in foreign countries have failed to do so with regards to the US.

Sheikh al-Qaradawi, and many of the religious figures who live in their own private worlds, live in a world that is far from reality, and are unaware of the complete picture. There are more than one million Iraqi refugees in Syria, and every country around the world has refused to allow them entry, while another million Iraqi refugees in Jordan queue up outside consulates and are continually refused visas of any kind. So where has Dr. al-Qaradawi conceived of this horror with regards to the US granting citizenship to Iraqis and others?

The truth is that the fear is from the opposite side, and in the US there is a strong lobby that is against the naturalization of Muslims and Arabs for racist and political reasons. Immigration to the US eventually results in citizenship, and the granting of full citizens rights, which is something that is not granted to Arab refugees in any Arab country, regardless of the humanitarian situation. Sheikh al-Qaradawi should ask about the Palestinian refugees who live a tough life, and are treated like animals in many Arab countries. They are forbidden from working and earning a livelihood, while some are even forbidden from traveling and visiting their families. In the future, before speaking, Sheikh al-Qaradawi should ask any Arab immigrant who has been lucky enough to gain citizenship in the infidel in order to know the difference between reality and myth.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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