“Let me make it absolutely clear. We want nothing to do with people who support suicide bombers in Palestine.”
Tony Blair, 2004
More to the point with respect to Mr. Blair’s position concerning those who support Palestinian suicide bombers, Sheikh Qaradawi is firmly on record as doing so, as we learn in “Bombing for God”, a August 2001 Guardian comment piece by Faisal Bodi:
“In the Muslim world, then, we celebrate what we call the martyr-bombers. To us they are heroes defending the things we hold sacred. Polls in the Middle East show 75% of people in favour of martyr-bombings.
“They also carry the weight of religious authority. The world’s most quoted independent Islamic jurist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, calls the bombs ‘commendable’ and ‘among the greatest form of holy struggle against oppression’.”
Based on Mr. Bodi’s comments, it seems likely that – given his authoritative status – Sheikh Qaradawi’s stance is one of active encouragement.
Given the Sheikh’s unequivocal position in support of suicide bombing, and Mr. Blair’s pronouncement, it seems odd that the former would be provided a prominent platform by the Foreign Office – but that is precisely what happened at the “Muslims of Europe” conference this month, funded to the tune of £300,000 courtesy of the UK taxpayer. Today’s Times notes that “Frances Guy, the senior civil servant in charge of the Foreign Office’s ‘Engaging with the Islamic World Group’, met Dr al-Qaradawi at the conference“.
So much for Mr. Blair’s principled statement.
It will perhaps be no surprise to learn that the government’s support for the Sheikh did not end there. For, despite his wealth, the Foreign Office determined that he shouldn’t have to bear the expenses associated with his trip to the conference, and graciously used taxpayer money to cover the cost of his flight. And his wife’s. And their luxury accommodation at the InterContinental, where a junior suite runs £500 a night.
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