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Opinion: The sheikh retracts, what about the detractors? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egyptian chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (C) during his visit to the Islamic University in Gaza City on May 9, 2013. (EPA/ALI ALI)

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has clearly declared it from Doha this week when he said: “For many years, I called for the bringing of sects together, and I travelled to Iran. But these bigots and fanatics want to eradicate Sunnis. They have deceived me, and deceived many like me.”

Sheikh Qaradawi’s comments came in response to [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah’s speech, in which he said he would stand by Bashar Al-Assad, and fight in his defense. Qaradawi did not stop there, however, admitting that he had defended Hassan Nasrallah and his party, specifically since the Hezbollah adventure which resulted in an Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. Qaradawi described that by saying: “I stood against the respected scholars in Saudi urging support for Hezbollah. Saudi scholars, however, were wiser than me, because they saw these people for what they were.”

Alright, the question now is: If Qaradawi has admitted his mistake, and has admitted that Saudi scholars were wiser than him; what are Qaradawi’s students and followers waiting for? Why do they not apologize for their insults and false campaigns? Why do they not apologize to those who were wiser and more sensible? It is true that Saudi scholars were alert, but there was a minority from those who were sensible, who warned of the dangers of Hezbollah and Iran. They warned against Assad’s regime, and the lie that is the resistance and the opposition. They even warned against Iran’s allies, such as the Hamas Movement, in fear for our issues, stability and security, and not for the sectarian motive which Qaradawi is talking about now.

The warning against Iran and its allies was not for sectarian reasons, but was against anyone who wanted to promote extremism, whether they were Shi’ite or Sunni, or for partisan reasons, such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship with Tehran, or those who want to benefit from sectarianism to divide our ranks, or destroy our nation.

It is correct to say that Qaradawi’s comments are right, but they do not exonerate him. Who is going to pay for the years of Brotherhood harmony with Tehran? Who takes responsibility for the bloodshed in our region? Who is going to clean up and rectify this mind-corrupting legacy? Why do detractors not apologize for their appalling insults, and the fabrication and promotion of false, defamatory campaigns?

It is not enough for those who supported Nasrallah to turn against him today, those who took photographs with him proudly, without apologizing for years of false and slanderous actions. It is not an issue of a personal vendetta, but insuring that mistakes are not repeated. The important thing now is, for those who turned against Iran, not to serve its aims twice; first when they became its allies and gave it a foothold in our region, and second by fueling sectarianism, in defense of Syrians.

Our duty today is to avoid being dragged behind Iran’s aims, and to be careful not to help its sectarian plan succeed. It is necessary to make people aware of the danger posed by Iran and its allies to our region, and to defuse the sectarian tension which can destroy the entire region.

Therefore, what is expected now from Qaradawi’s supporters is an apology, and not to be drawn behind another new extremist idea, not less harmful than their first.