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August 27, 2006

Qaradawi

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

A couple weeks ago, Matt linked to a transcript by Yousuf al-Qaradawi, who sort of resembles a Muslim James Dobson.  It was a weird mix of frightening and funny.  Here's Qaradawi on the 2004 elections:

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.

If Qaradawi knows how the nudist vote went in 2004, he was reading different exit polls than I was.  Another of his comments that shows an amusingly strange view of the West is here:

Is there a single honorable, chaste woman left in these countries? Don't they reprimand a girl who is still a virgin at the age of 14? They say: How can this be? She becomes undesirable. Where are her boyfriends?

There's a wikipedia page that sort of expresses my confusion about how to regard him.  Does his rejection of the 9/11 attacks and his support of female candidates in municipal elections make him a moderate?  Does his strong support for Palestinian suicide bombers and his rejection of secularism make him a conservative Muslim?  My guess is that most Muslims abroad are closer to us than he is, and thus that he's more foe than ally. 

But that's really how you have to think about these things, if you're going to think about them in terms of a long-term strategy for dealing with fundamentalist Islam.  Muslims who are 60 years behind us have to be preferred to Muslims who are 600 years behind us, and promoted in whatever subtle ways we can promote them.  (Not irritating Muslims unnecessarily by threatening them with ill-considered invasions is also important.) 

August 27, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

"Muslims who are 60 years behind us have to be preferred to Muslims who are 600 years"

I have been getting all Medieval recently, and the West of 1100-1400 was in many ways more "liberal" than the Europe of the Renaissance. Women's rights and decentralized power for instance. The reactionary or nostalgic Wahhabist movement of the 18th century onwards may actually have little relation to how Islam was theorized and practiced a thousand years ago, just as current Christian Conservatism may have little relation to the practices of Calvin or Luther. Fundamentalism and Inerrancy IIRC is an early 20th Century movement.

Perhaps radical movements, tho actually mostly an ad hoc selection of positions, gain their legitimacy by pretending those positions derive from a unitary understanding, a coherent basic interpretation. I think it is counterproductive to attempt to attack the general interpretation. For the left to say, for instance, that indeed opposition to contraception is coherent for conservative Christianity, therefore conservative Christianity itself must be attacked, is simply not going to work.

So 1)We should not be in the business of determining what is or is not, a "moderate Islam".
2)Individual issues should be delinked from general ideologies, but not by reference to those general principles.
3)This process of delinking, by arguing issues based on science rather than religion, will hopefully weaken indirectly the psuedo-coherency of reactionary ideologies.

I may not be clear. Saying "Homosexuality isn't really condemned in Leviticus" will not work. Saying "Look around, gays are ok neighbours" is the way to go.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 27, 2006 9:03:34 AM

Bob,

Tremendous. Thanks for sharing that with us.

This is particularly good: I may not be clear. Saying "Homosexuality isn't really condemned in Leviticus" will not work. Saying "Look around, gays are ok neighbours" is the way to go.

My first reaction was to go through all the biblical arguments I have for the acceptance of homosexuality - I've got to use my M.Div somehow, you know. But your strategy is exactly right. It is once people see the "other" as a human being that they will be open to new understandings of their sacred writings.

Again, well done.

Posted by: Stephen | Aug 27, 2006 10:28:07 AM

My guess is that most Muslims abroad are closer to us than he is, and thus that he's more foe than ally.

Neil -- I'm not sure I agree. What makes him a foe? He's opposed to the occupation in Iraq and he's anti-Israel, true, but on that metric the U.S. has millions and millions of "foes". Qaradawi is no liberal but he is a democrat; he's also been very outspoken against the strain of Islam that spawned Zawahiri and bin Laden, and in that sense, he's probably "closer to us" than most Muslims abroad are.

There are very few secularists and liberals in the Middle East. Pretending that Qaradawi is some far-right figure who's not representative of mainstream opinion seems like the same mistake the Bush administration has made for the past six years.

Posted by: Brad Plumer | Aug 27, 2006 11:37:43 AM

"If Qaradawi knows how the nudist vote went in 2004, he was reading different exit polls than I was."

What exit polls were you reading?

"Exit polls -- for whatever they're worth -- showed that the biggest concern among voters this year was not Iraq, the economy, or terror. It was moral values.

The 2004 election produced more than a few surprises. Exit polls revealed that moral values trumped Iraq and the economy as a top voter concern."

It seems this clown is right and you are wrong, Neil.

Wow. The American liberals are more out of touch with the American public than foreign clerics.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 27, 2006 11:38:00 AM

The American liberals are more out of touch with the American public than foreign clerics.

Dubya's approval rating sits at 36%, with approval of his handling of Iraq down even lower.

Only one of us is "out of touch with the American public", stonerboy.

Posted by: Thlayli | Aug 27, 2006 12:49:49 PM

"Only one of us is "out of touch with the American public", stonerboy."

Gay marriage, abortion on demand, gun control, affirmative action, giving terrorists constitutional rights, open borders, a 'sensitive' war on terror, etc. are all things liberals are for and most of America is against.

Why do you think liberals keep losing elections?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 27, 2006 1:56:42 PM

I'm willing to concede that I don't have a very good view of the spectrum of Islamic opinion, Brad, but I've been quite pleasantly surprised by the things I hear about young Iranian city folk, the Lebanese, and lots of middle-class Arabs. I wasn't so pleasantly surprised by the Qaradawi transcripts. And I'm more of a liberal than a democrat.

Toke, I was making a joke about how I've never seen a poll of nudists. The very idea of a nudist poll (what, are "nudist moms" the new swing vote?) strikes me as amusing.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 27, 2006 2:39:15 PM

Gay marriage, abortion on demand, gun control, affirmative action, giving terrorists constitutional rights, open borders, a 'sensitive' war on terror, etc. are all things liberals are for and most of America is against.

Ah, to respond to dipshit again. . .
First, I am a liberal - by most definitions. But I do not in fact believe in absolute abortion on demand, extreme gun control, open borders or a "sensitive" war on terror. Sure some liberals believe in some of those things but the difference between "liberals" and sychophantic retards such as yourself is, that we don't all agree on every issue - we actually have our own opinions. Not all "conservatives" fall into your lockstep world either, William F Buckley and John Dean are good examples of that - or are you one who would call Buckley a liberal? I have heard that accusation more than once.

I am not however surprised about the nudist poll. Everyone knows how dangerous a bunch of naked people can be. And I'm sure everyone knows that the biggest threat to this nation today is, nude soccer moms - they just are a serious swing vote. . .

Posted by: DuWayne | Aug 27, 2006 3:14:45 PM

"Not all "conservatives" fall into your lockstep world either"

I hope you ain't a cop, cuz your detective skills suck.

First, Captain Toke ain't my real name. I also periodically brag "Correcting liberals with one hand wrapped around a big, fat, giant doobie, just to make it fair". I openly endorse the legalization of reefer. I'm stoned right now(but I still make more sense than you).

Is that "lockstep conservative"?

And you call me dipshit.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 27, 2006 3:55:59 PM

Whew hew, we find one issue to agree on - and one you don't fall into lockstep with other idiot sychophants. I wondered, but mistakenly assumed you to be one of those idiots who smokes but doesn't believe it should be legal. Yeah you, your not quite as stupid as I believed - but your still a dipshit. You fail to make any substantive arguments about any policy discussions - ever. It's always talking points and when that fails resorting to, because their liberals and liberals suck.

What about your presidents aproval ratings dipshit?

Posted by: DuWayne | Aug 27, 2006 4:06:15 PM

"There are very few secularists and liberals in the Middle East" ...Brad Plumer

I am actually not sure. From the outside, the polls show Americans are very religious and attend church regularly. We can't show nipples on network TV. Yet the Internet is full of porn and Captain Toke smokes pot. These things are complicated, especially since an active determined minority can determine some superficial issues that the majority are relatively indifferent to. Some issues, like abortion, will generate war.

Abu Aardvark is pretty good on general ME zeitgeist, including which countries are showing the nasty Lebanese music videos in order to complain about immoral those videos are.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 27, 2006 5:36:27 PM

Toke, once again you demonstrate conservatives' legion lack of any sense of humor or ability to read critically. There are, to my knowledge, no reliable data available indicating which way the "nudist" vote went. You are, however, invited to provide some hard data on the issue.

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 27, 2006 6:22:38 PM

Toke on "moral values": Gay marriage, abortion on demand, gun control, affirmative action, giving terrorists constitutional rights, open borders, a 'sensitive' war on terror

Hmm... not seeing "poverty," "public health," or "crackdown on violence" on that list. A few moral blindspots there you have, eh?

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 27, 2006 6:25:54 PM

I may not be clear. Saying "Homosexuality isn't really condemned in Leviticus" will not work. Saying "Look around, gays are ok neighbours" is the way to go.

It didn't work for the Jewish neighbours of Germans in the thirties, did it?

The US is slowly sliding towards the same sort of social conditions.

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans | Aug 27, 2006 6:43:02 PM

He may well be less close to you than most muslims, but not most arabs, I don't think.

Posted by: David Weman | Aug 27, 2006 6:52:41 PM

Another of his comments that shows an amusingly strange view of the West is here:

Is there a single honorable, chaste woman left in these countries? Don't they reprimand a girl who is still a virgin at the age of 14? They say: How can this be? She becomes undesirable. Where are her boyfriends?

Several things I have to say about this.

First, he probably has a narrower view of virgin than we do. He probably means any girl who has kissed a guy is not a virgin. This would mean a lot of 14 year old American girls would not be "virgins" under his meaning of virgin. Joining a cheerleading team and wiggling your hips would also make you no longer a virgin in his eyes.

Second, he's probably not exposed to American family TV shows like Full House and thinks American girls are like the girls he sees in music videos done by Christina and Britney. Even Cheyenne strumming her guitar would probably be too much for him though.

Third, even in American family TV shows, teenage girls act in ways he would consider to be be quite unvirginish but we would consider to be quite innocent. For example, in the WB (now the CW) family show Seventh Heaven, both of the daughters played by Beverly Mitchell and Jessica Biel did a lot of deep kissing with their boy-friends (on-screen) by the time their characters were 16. While we wouldn't think twice about it, for him it would be pretty horrific.

Posted by: Dan the Man | Aug 27, 2006 9:01:25 PM

Sorry to latch on to a tangent, but people tend to take the "Moral Values" poll too seriously. Michelle Cottle wrote in the New Republic:
"For starters, what the hell was meant by the catchall phrase "moral values"? A follow-up poll by Pew showed that, while many voters were thinking specifically of social issues like gay marriage and stem cell research, nearly a quarter were thinking more in terms of the candidates' personal qualities, such as honesty and integrity. More notably, the percentage of "moral values" voters in 2004 was basically the same as the number in 1996--when we all gave Bill "can't keep my fly zipped" Clinton a second term. Yes, the gay marriage debate energized the Republican base this year, but it's not like some fledgling army of evangelicals has arisen to plot the confiscation of your "Sex and the City" videos."
As Constantine pointed out, Moral Values can mean almost anything.

Also, as an even more tangential side point, there is a conservative argument for open boarders. From Wikipedia: "The editorial board [of the Wall Street Journal] has long argued for a less-restrictive immigration policy. In a July 3, 1984 editorial, the board wrote: If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.'"

Posted by: Liberal, but to a degree | Aug 29, 2006 2:48:22 PM

Niel, whoever wrote that the homosexuals and nudist voted for Kerry don't know what they are talking about. True some of the nudist voted for Kerry but others like me voted for G.Bush. I wish people would stop trying to group us with a bunch of perverts and homosexuals. Unless you run across a group of swingers, we don't like to foul up our resorts with stupid, immoral stuff that you wouldn't want around your children. We belive that a man and wife should have sex with only each other and that in the privacy of their bedroom. We don't want exhibitionest in our resorts, nor do we want people that come to ogle someone that is nude. If that is their purpose, they can get a magazine or click on to a sleezy web sheet. We want to go to our resorts to relax, enjoy the sun, wind, water, and freedom from clothes while we loose the stress that has built up over a period of time. Also, to associate with people that have a like mind and thinking to ours. We are the people you meet in the supermarket, at the gas station, in the shoping mall, that you go to church with, are your next door neighbors, and probably some of your best friends. We, also, come in different shapes. Some of us are tall, short, skinny, fat, and may have scars on us from having surgery, or from having been in a car accident. A few may even be ministers that have come to realize that Adam and Eve was cast from the Garden of Eaden for disobeying God, instead of being nude--the way God created us in His image.
Thank you for letting me say this.

Mike

Posted by: Horace Everett (Mike) | Sep 10, 2007 9:20:22 PM

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