The latest revisions of Sunni Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi are an important development. He stood up and said: “For years I have called for bringing Islamic doctrines together. I traveled to Iran during the days of former president Mohammed Khatami. But they have fooled me, and many others like me. They used to say that they (too) want to unite the different doctrines."
Sheikh Qaradawi admitted his mistake saying: “I defended the so-called Nasrallah and his party, the party of tyranny... in front of clerics in Saudi Arabia. It seems that the clerics of Saudi Arabia were more mature than me.”
Admitting a mistake
Qaradawi's public and frank confession is a significant event. He admitted that he was wrong in everything he had assumed and that he defended Hezbollah and criticized others. The battles that occurred in the last 20 years were based on the concept of establishing an Islamic world of governments, parties and figures. The plan was built upon a huge amount of lies and myths that brought together deceptive people as well as the deceived ones.
Sheikh Qaradawi's courage deserves respect because he is almost the only one who admitted he was wrong. He could have resorted to justifying or overlooking his former stances. But he chose to confront his followers and admit his mistake.
Qaradawi was not wrong when he called for bringing Islam’s doctrines together and when he called for Islamic cooperation. These are noble ideas. His mistake was in his understanding of the politics that design plans in Tehran, Beirut and Damascus. A Khomeini Tehran is a project that has nothing to do with Islam. It is an Iranian scheme that aims to dominate the region. Its schemers based it on the lie of the Islamic revolution because that's their only tie with millions of Muslims across the world. It was the wave they could ride to expand geographically and gain influence.
Sheikh Qaradawi himself believed many illusions just like many clerics who engaged in politics with plenty of enthusiasm and with little political knowledge.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
We've gone through dialectic battles with all of Iran's allies, Hezbollah and Syria's regime. We've fought battles with their intellectuals and preachers because we know the essence of these regimes, their aims and the details of their activity. We know that the majority of people who followed the path of these evil groups were deceived. We know that they followed them out of good intents but as you know, the road to hell is has a lot of good intentions. Sheikh Qaradawi himself believed many illusions just like many clerics who engaged in politics with plenty of enthusiasm and with little political knowledge.
He left Egypt for Qatar in protest against late president Anwar al-Sadat after he signed a peace treaty with Israel. Iran was a destination for angry and enthusiastic people who want to change the Islamic world. Frustrated and impressed people wrote books glorifying the Iranian revolution. They delivered speeches revering Iranian leaders although Iran's dirty politics were clear to all ever since the escape of Abu al-Hassan Bani Sadr, the first elected president who was close to Ayatollah Khomeini. The new regime's gang pursued their revolution partners and killed plenty of them. After all of this, how can anyone believe that a regime that committed crimes against its people in Tehran can actually lead them, liberate Palestine and end tyrannical regimes?
It's not true that Iran was an unrevealed mystery. It has been a bad sectarian regime since the beginning. When Salman Rushdie wrote his book “The Satanic Verses,” Iran launched a campaign against Britain and requested that it be condemned in an Islamic conference in Jeddah. The paradox is that the Palestinian delegation which knew the lies of Khomeini's regime responded early to Iran's request saying that Britain is not a Muslim country. So the delegation requested that before talking about condemning Britain, insulting the Prophet's companions in Muslim countries must be prohibited. The Iranian delegation got angry, rejected the idea and walked out.
Unfortunately, Qaradawi's deceived fellows, like Hamas leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, still support Iran. Doesn't any of them think for a while and imagine how our world will look like tomorrow under the governance of a figure like Ali Khamenei or Qassem Suleimani or Hassan Nasrallah? What is certain is that tomorrow, extremist Iran will ally with America, the Great Satan, cooperate with Israel, perch on the region's oil and impose its plans.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 2, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.