Noted Islamic scholar, Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi (pictured), has welcomed US President Barrack Obama’s address to the Arab and Islamic world and said it reflected a blissful departure from the aggressive tone and tenor his predecessor, George W Bush, used while talking of Muslims.
“We have to welcome his address only on this count, and not because we are attaching any great hopes of the US policy towards the Middle East changing for the better,” said the cleric.
He added that the speech gave some hope of minor alterations taking place in the US policy towards the Arab and Islamic world.
Delivering his Friday sermon in Omer bin Khattab mosque, Qaradawi recalled how Bush had declared his war on terror as a ‘crusade’ and subsequently apologised. “I think Obama’s address reflects the beginning of an era where US relations with the Islamic world are based on mutual respect,” said the cleric and wondered if Obama’s overtures to the Muslim world had anything to do with his Muslim and African roots.
The scholar also said that Obama, unlike Bush, did not refer to Hamas as a terrorist organisation and rather described it as a violent outfit. “But what surprises me is that in his speech he did not refer to Israel as a violent state,” said the cleric. Hamas is defending the rights of the people of Palestine, so it has every right to use violence. The Israelis have been aggressors from day one.
While lauding Obama for his known opposition to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, Qaradawi said he found the President comparing the Holy Quran with the Old Testament unjustified. “There can’t be any comparison between the two,” said the cleric.
But he added that while he reiterated his commitment to withdrawing US troops from Iraq, the war in Afghanistan was still on and these troops would be sent there. “So, in a way the war against Muslims will be on.”
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