He's got a face full of warts, yellow, snaggly teeth, and the raspy voice of a retching cat. Nevertheless, Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an international sensation, the Sheik of All Media. TV star, best-selling author, internet proprietor, high profile movie consultant -- wow, is there nothing this busy little Hitler-lover can't do?
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of those people you've never heard of who is nonetheless radically remaking your world. From his swanky home in Qatar, this Muslim Brotherhood cleric sends out millions of razor-edged tentacles designed to strangle Western civilization and usher in the glorious new age of global sharia.
While you're out walking the dog, he's deploying his power as President of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (don't you just love that title?) to give the theological A-OK to various explosions, decapitations, and mutilations. That was Qaradawi who gave Muslims the "spiritual" green light to murder American soldiers and civilian contractors in Iraq, and who empowered Muslim women with the coveted right to blow themselves up as homicide bombers. (Pregnant, too? No problem. Be his guest!) Naturally, he's guaranteed the full menu of 72 virgins to any lucky martyr who slaughters a Zionist pig.
Basically, Qaradawi is all jihad, all the time. In your world, it may be time to pay the bills, kick back with a beer, or plant your tomatoes. In Qaradawi's world, it's time to furiously expand his infidel-blasting empire of media weaponry. One minute, you may find him explaining on his Al-Jazeera television series that Hitler carried out "divine punishment" for the Jews, and "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers." The next, he may be uploading his latest fatwa onto his Islam Online website, like the famous one he unleashed against "Pokémon," a kids' television show he's convinced features animated characters whispering, "Become a Jew." Or perhaps he's writing a learned chapter for his 41st book, addressing the finer points of wife-beating, child marriage, and female genital mutilation.
And now Qaradawi's gone Hollywood! Yes, the man the ADL dubbed "The Theologian of Terror," the choleric cleric who's banned from entering the U.S. and England, has rocketed to the top of Hollywood's A-list. Barrie Osborne, producer of the blockbuster trilogies The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings, has hired Qaradawi to guide all aspects of his new $200-million movie on the Prophet Mohammed, which Osborne optimistically describes as "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures." Some moviegoers might find Qaradawi's approach to "bridging cultures" a tad peculiar: "The only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life in martyrdom." All Hollywood's asking: Which part will Keanu Reeves play?
As for American politicians, the mere fact that Qaradawi is banned from entering the U.S. is no reason they can't show him some serious love. Take Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston, for instance. Why, he must have a throbbing man-crush on the guy! Why else would Menino practically donate two million dollars' worth of Boston taxpayers' public land to Qaradawi and his best buddies so they could build a gigantic mosque in the heart of Roxbury? And now that the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center is officially open, and creepy characters linked to the mosque keep getting arrested for terrorism, all Boston can enjoy this permanent minaret-topped monument to the folly of its politicians.
Zooming higher up the political food chain, we come to Barack Obama. Unavoidable physical distance prevents Obama from bowing to Qaradawi in person, but he can still manage a deep ideological waist-bend now and then. Let's examine the recent dust-up in Israel with the Gaza flotilla attack. Whence cometh the money for this lethal publicity stunt? If you guessed Qaradawi, you win a red crescent! He chairs the Orwellian-named Union of Good, a Saudi-based umbrella organization through which the money apparently flowed. (To be strictly fair, Qaradawi can't claim sole credit for the massacre's success. Obama pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and Obama's top cash bundler Jodie Evans chipped in, too.)
You might think the leader of the free world should not immediately jump in and endorse Qaradawi's wish list for Israel's disarmament, but that's not how the game is played in Obama's White House. Apparently, if the Q-man wants it, that's good enough for Barry. So the White House quickly declared that Israel's Gaza blockade is "unsustainable" and began pressuring Israel to abandon its naval interception, thereby clearing the way for Iran to establish a Gaza port. Still undisclosed is whether Qaradawi sent the White House a bouquet of roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
More and more, day by day, hour by hour, Qaradawi controls what happens in America, and what we can say, think, and do. His nauseating message oozes in through our computers and televisions, through the beachhead institutions he's established, and through the politicians he's unmanned. He's here, there, and absolutely everywhere: You can even friend him on Facebook!
Think I'm overstating the case? It was Qaradawi who organized an "International Day of Rage" in response to the Danish cartoons. The subsequent carnage so spooked the American mainstream media that, to date, not one newspaper has published the cartoons. And when Yale University Press recently published an academic study of the Danish cartoon crisis, it coyly refrained from including any images of the actual cartoons -- you know, the very topic of the book -- to avoid inflaming those famously "sensitive" Muslim sensibilities.
What are they all so afraid of? Well, the dismal fate of Wafa Sultan, a true American heroine, may tell the tale. Dr. Sultan, a Syrian-born psychiatrist who is now an American citizen, had the courage to speak truth to power, the power being a hard-nosed Muslim cleric on Al-Jazeera TV. The video of that incendiary 2006 exchange became a YouTube sensation, as more than a million people watched her vehemently exclaim, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask what they can do for humankind before they demand that humankind respect them."
To put it mildly, Qaradawi was not happy. No woman disrespects Islam like that! He took to the airwaves and thundered, "She said unbearable, ghastly things that made my hair stand on end. She had the audacity to publicly curse Allah, His Prophet, the Koran, the history of Islam, and the Islamic nation. She did not spare anything." ;
Shortly thereafter, Wafa Sultan went into hiding with her family. From time to time, she emerges briefly, only to vanish again underground. Even as an American citizen in America, she can't speak her mind about Islam and then live a normal life. In her new book, A God Who Hates, she writes, "Most Muslims, if not all, will condemn me to death when they read this book." Some of those Muslims may well be in America, energized by the unspeakably foul "teachings" of Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Such is the sad and perilous state of America in 2010.
By Stella Paul