The following are excerpts from interviews with Islamic scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) on January 1 and 3, 2010.
January 1, 2010
Interviewer: A young Nigerian man tried to blow up an American airplane. What is the origin of this behavior? What is your reaction? Who bears responsibility for this behavior?
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Look, responsibility for this lies, first and foremost, with America. It is America that provoked the Muslims of the world with its positions that have nothing to do with justice. America always supports injustice and tyranny. It supports the Zionist entity. Responsibility lies, first and foremost, with the American positions. Then, there are the positions of the Muslims. The Muslims and their religious scholars also bear responsibility, as well as their leaders and the shameful positions of these leaders.
Every day we witness more positions like this, the last of which was the steel wall – the Wall of Death – which they want to build between the brothers in the Egyptian Rafah and the Palestinian Rafah. I'd like to tell you a story. The first time I visited Gaza was in 1957, after my release from military prison. They told me: "This is the Rafah border." It was merely a wooden barrier that they lift to let you through. I was standing there, between the two parts of Rafah – one foot in Egypt and the other in Palestine. There are no borders. These countries and borders are artificial. They were drawn up by Sykes and Picot and by colonialism. It was all one country, which the jurisprudents used to call Dar Al-Islam ["The House of Islam"], and not "The Houses of Islam."
It is these positions that provoke these young men. I denounce this, of course. I denounce any action like the hijacking or bombing of an airplane. More than 20 years ago, I issued a fatwa, categorically prohibiting the hijacking of airplanes. What have the passengers done to deserve having their plane destroyed, or having any of them killed? It is not their fault. You should not punish them for something done by others. However, we must search for the deep-rooted reasons for this indiscriminate, futile, or violent behavior. This behavior has not emerged out of the blue. It has its reasons. If we want to treat something, we must treat its reasons.
January 3, 2010
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: A steel wall! Each unit of this wall is 50 centimeters thick, and it is sunk 20-30 meters into the ground. What is this for? They said: "For the sake of Egyptian national security. It is in order to defend Egyptian national security." That poor Egyptian national security... The people of Gaza, who are poor, hungry, needy, and oppressed, jeopardize Egyptian national security!
Hear this, oh people – the people of Gaza, not Israel, jeopardize Egyptian security. Does this make sense? Have people lost their minds so much that they say such things? When have the people of Gaza ever jeopardized Egypt? All this was intended to give Israel an opportunity to tyrannize the Palestinians more and more. The Rafah crossing – the "lung of life" through which the Palestinians breathe – must be opened and must remain open. This is an obligation according to Islamic law, the norms, moral values, and common law. All the principles of this world necessitate this. But due to strange and peculiar considerations, the crossing is closed.