Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guilt by Association? Cupich Celebrates Iftar with Charity Group Associated with "Death to Apostates" Islamist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Archbishop Cupich and Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, Chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and keynote speaker at the 19th Annual Catholic-Muslim Iftar Dinner
I put a question mark next to "Guilt by Association." That's because I assume that Archbishop Blase Cupich has no idea who Yusuf al-Qaradawi is. In that sense Cupich is no different than many non-Muslims who rush to embrace prominent and "respectable" Muslim organizations, following the mantra that the "vast majority" of Muslims are "moderates" and Islam is on the whole a "religion of peace," etc.

Last night, Cupich attended and gave the welcoming address at the 19th Annual Catholic-Muslim Iftar Dinner--Iftar being the meal where Muslims celebrate the end of their daily fast. The event was held at the Zakat Foundation of America headquarters in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Foundation is a well-known Islamic non-profit that distributes aid to Muslim communities all over the world in fulfillment of the religious zakat or charity obligation.

The theme of the event was Islamophobia.

The Zakat Foundation publishes The Zakat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Muslims in the West, which it prominently features on its website--you are invited to download the PDF for free--as an essential guide to Zakat. It has no credited author but the Foreword was written by Khalil Demir, the longtime Executive Director of the organization. In the Foreword, Demir prominently notes the Handbook's primary source:
A noted source for contemporary cases is the celebrated Dr. Yusuf al-Qardawi’s Fiqh az-Zakat (a book translated into English under the same name (with the subtitle: A Comparative Study, published by Dar al-Taqwa, London, UK, 1999). This book relies heavily on Shaykh Yusuf’s monumental service to contemporary Muslims in Fiqh az-Zakat.
Who is Yusuf al-Qardawi?

Al-Qardawi is an Egyptian-born Muslim scholar currently residing in Qatar. At the age of 89, he is one of the world's most well know Muslim public intellectuals, with a popular and long-running program on sharia on the Al Jazeera network.

That doesn't prevent him from being as much of an "extremist" as any fictional caricature dreamed up by an Islamophobe.

Al-Qardawi is currently barred from entering the United States and a number of other Western countries due to his advocacy of terrorism and links with Muslim supremacist groups. He was sentenced to death in absentia by the Egyptian government due to his prominent association with the Muslim Brotherhood over many years.

According to Wikipedia, some of his more notable publicly expressed views include:
  • Advocating the death penalty for apostates from Islam
    If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam wouldn't exist today...The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is that they should be murdered or crucified... many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad's companions state that any apostate should be killed. Ibn 'Abbas's hadith: 'Kill whoever changes his faith [from Islam].'
  • Advocating the arrest and public torture of homosexuals
    The same punishment as any sexual pervert – the same as the fornicator (the punishment for fornication is whipping.)
  • Approval of Hitler and the Holocaust and a call for a second Holocaust at the hands of Muslims
    Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption ... The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them.... Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.
  • Murderous hatred against Jews in general
    O Allah, take your enemies, the enemies of Islam. O Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. O Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people. O Allah, they have spread much tyranny and corruption in the land. Pour Your wrath upon them, O our God. Lie in wait for them. O Allah, You annihilated the people of Thamoud (An early pagan Arab tribe) with an overpowering blast, and You annihilated the people of 'Aad with a fierce, icy gale, and You destroyed the pharaoh [of Exodus] and his soldiers – O Allah, take this oppressive, tyrannical band of people. O Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish Zionist band of people. O Allah, do not spare a single one of them. O Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one (from a prayer read by Al-Qaradawi on Al Jazeera during the 2009 Gaza war).
  • Support for Palestinian suicide bombing
  • Support for "resistance" against allied forces in Iraq
Now, it is true that for many of his "extreme" statements there are also moderating ones. For example, he apparently believes that only apostates who go public with anti-Islam views should be executed. He once told Rabbis from a dissident Jewish sect that "there is no enmity between Jews and Muslims." And so on.

This has on occasion even earned him the label of being a "liberal." Yes, that's correct, in international Islamic intellectual circles, only being in favor of executing apostates in some cases, often makes one a liberal.

And of course, Al-Qardawi is absolutely correct that everything he says has explicit foundation in the Koran and/or Hadith (the canonical sayings of Muhammed), the same sources that Muslims use to deduce, say, one's charity obligations

Where does this leave the Zakat Foundation?

Is guilt by association in this case, fair? I'm not alleging that, say, every member of Zakat approves of all of the views of Yusef Al-Qardawi. Indeed, it's almost certain that they would publicly deny agreeing with any off them. But then why enthusiastically cite him in their main publication? Arguably, it would be as if a prominent Catholic charity cited David Duke as their main inspiration. Then again, as far as I know, David Duke has never advocated the execution of Christian apostates or the arrest and public torture of homosexuals.

One answer of course is that they can't really avoid it. The Muslim intellectual milieux isn't 95% inhabited by "moderates." It is dominated by people like Al-Qardawi. If you want to write a handbook on the Zakat obligation, you cannot help but make use of the work of these people.

At the very minimum, Muslims such as the Executive Director of Zakat know this but do not reveal it. Indeed, they lie about it.

At anti-Islamophobia dinners.

More to the point, I have no doubt that many Muslims, including many at that dinner, at least passively approve of many of the horribles associated with Al-Qardawi. One could cite polling that shows this. More to the point, where is the prominent Muslim non-profit actively working to abolish the most illiberal elements of sharia in the countries where it is most in force? Where is the Zakat Foundation on that one?

No doubt, many Muslims are passive out of fear. That at least partially absolves them. It does not absolve Islam.    

Where does that leave Cupich?

Archbishop Cupich doesn't want to know that Islam is shot through with hatred and barbarism. Or more probably he knows it, at least on some level or in some vague sense, but doesn't really care. For the moment, it doesn't fit the narrative he wants to exploit. For all his bragging about "accompanying" his LGBT brothers and sisters, he's supping with those who shrug at having homosexuals publicly flogged. But no worries, that inconvenient fact won't be reported in the next Catholic New World.

And, of course, Cupich is not alone by any means, among Catholics or others, in being an apologist for Islam. But here's the thing, Cupich has himself decided to make much of his job about the advocacy of minority rights or what he would no doubt claim are human rights in general. Being a shill for Islam makes this aspect of his ministry a joke.   

1 comment:

  1. Is there an annual Catholic Jewish Dinner, also? I wonder what the Jews in Chicago think of Cupich.