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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Al-Qaradawi - your views
We asked for your views on whether Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi should have been allowed into Britain.

Sheikh Al-Qardawi is an honest man who is (obviously) not afraid to air his beliefs, unlike some of the politicians he is visiting. This does not make him a radical or fanatic. Suicide bombing is off the chart of political correctness and no doubt an extreme measure and I for one do not agree with it. But unless you are familiar with the desperate plight of the Palestinian people, you won't be able to begin to understand why these life-affirming people would even consider suicide as a last resort in their struggle for survival. To demonize an old man however, is so much easier than to expose an internationally backed apartheid state, which literally getting away with murder.
T. Fehlhaber, Norwich, UK

If the UK can allow (and applaud) visits from Ariel Sharon of Israel with his track record of persecution, mass-murder, killing of women and children and stock-piling of nuclear arsenal, then why shouldn't Qaradawi be allowed in ?? Why does the West always have double standards??
Sarah Frej, Richmond-Upon-Thames, UK.

A few months ago, two Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a pregnant Israeli woman and her four daughters, all under 11 years old. According to Al-Qaradawi, killing Israeli women is justified because 'Israeli women are militarised'. Presumably then its justified to kill Palestinian women, because Palestinian women are suicide bombers. Louise Ellman and the Conservatives are right. We don't want this nasty little bigot in this country, and we don't want to hear his obscene justifications of murder. The government were wrong to let him in, and Ken Livingstone should be ashamed of himself for welcoming him.
Andy Gil, London, UK

This fanatical Muslim propagandist, who supports terrorists and terrorism under the guise of religious beliefs, is a far worse threat to public order than Louis Farrakhan, who is barred from entering the U.K. It is amazing that, after all of the violent attacks on so many innocent people by those Al-Qaradawi praises, that the British government is too impotent to take a sensible stand and stop him from spreading his vile message of hate. He should be kicked out NOW!
leslie w moss, malibu,California, USA

What happened to quote by Voltaire (I disagree with everything you say, but will defend with my life your right) that liberals were so fond. Of course Sheik Yusal Al Qaradawi should be allowed in to the UK. Its only Islamophobes and Ultra-Zionists who want to refuse his entry.
Nyder, London

Yes, it is right that in a democracy he is allowed freedom to express his views. Even though I find it hard to agree with him in this issue, by all accounts he has given careful thought to these matters and his views are measured and just. He also seems to respect other faiths and wishes to promote reconciliation. He is not a fundamentalist. It is this in any religion (particularly Christianity, and I am myself a Christian), which represents the real danger to the world. He is right to support opposition to injustice. Current Israeli policy represents a violent and cynical abuse of human rights and ought to be opposed by the whole world. The American government's condoning and active support of Israeli behaviour is cowardly and contemptible. I would like to see Britain taking a stand like this more often in the face of our Transatlantic associates, who are clearly afraid in this instance that their consciences might be too troubled for comfort.
Robert Bell, Glasgow, Scotland

if the use of hellfire missiles on the homes and cars of Palestinians is justified, if the making of 18 000 Palestinians homeless ... if the collective punishment , the denial of food aid distribution , if 1000 children have been murdered .. if you can justify the use of the above then why the hypocrisy when others justify suicide attacks as a means of 'balancing' the terror. why should terror be only in the domain of the Israelis .. and be made so acceptable ?
sally jones, glasgow

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is expressing a view that is held by millions of Muslims around the world concerning the legitimacy of Palestinian suicide bombers as a final resort in the face of Jewish oppression and terrorism inflicted on the relatively defenceless Palestinian people. The view that all Israelis must share in the guilt for this is also widespread. Suicide attacks by Jews against the Nazis at the time of the Warsaw ghetto have been hailed as acts of heroism. Many Jews have also argued a very convincing case concerning the "guilt of the German nation as a whole" for the persecution of the Jews at that time. To accept, as most people do, the latter position as a legitimate view and deny the legitimacy of a similar view concerning the situation of the Palestinians is to accept the racism that is a central feature of the Israeli state.
Chris Bailey, Cambridge, England

I would like to say here that the visit of Dr. Yusuf Kardawi should be welcomed as he is bringing some wisdom to everyone concerned through question/answer sessions. The alleged remark he made in Qatar about suicide bombing was taken out of context by those who have vested interest in shutting up anyone who says anything about Israel. He has never broken any law in UK or encouraged anyone to carry out suicide bombing.
abdi, uk

It is amazing that a man who gives religious justification to murder is welcomed with open arms by none other than the Mayor of London. Given that most Londoners are under high alert for an islamist terror attack, one has to wonder what is going in City Hall?
Gajan Niranjan, London, UK

We should be confident of our tradition of free speech that we are prepared to let those abroad come to debate and give their viewpoints. This is especially true for Palestinians as they are a country illegally occupied by Israel and Israel has the tacit backing of the USA so they can do what they please. Sadly the British Government fails to object to this evil by Israel and we will pay a heavy price for being so timid.
B.Stone, Shipley ,UK

Has this country gone completely mad. I don't believe any other country in the world, would allow foreigners to speak out freely as this man is doing and on the same day as Mr Blunkett is trying to bring in a ruling banning me (and this is my country, with generations before me)from speaking out against this man because of the threat of racial discrimination. It is no wonder people are turning to the BNP. Our Christian country is no longer our own. I now feel like an outsider in my own country with less rights than immigrants. This man should be sent back to where he came from. PRONTO
J. Bowes, Durham

Hearing such violent ideas considered acceptable, is unacceptable to me. I dislike the abuse of freedom of speech by declaiming in favour of suicide bombing which inevitably continues a spiral of violence and makes any peace impossible. Freedom of speech, like all freedom, should be balanced by responsibility and not taken as license to say anything at all. Influencing other people to think that suicide bombing is legitimate is quite wrong. It certainly makes me aware of a gulf between my outlook and that of his adherents. No, he is not welcome to London by me!
Patricia, London

Mr Qaradawi's visit to the UK is intended to encourage Muslims to integrate into the wider community. I dont see any harm in this, in fact, I think it would be quite beneficial, despite his controversial views concerning suicide bombings. I'm sure My Qaradawi's views have not cost as many lives as the Bush administration has. The fact that Louise Ellman didn't kick up such a fuss when Bush visited the UK is a clear example of double standards.
Fatima Mahmood, UK

We should make this man welcome. He does not condone suicide bombings. My interpretation of what he says is that when you are under attack you will use all methods at your disposal to defend yourself and his comments regarding suicide bombers relate to Israel where the 'people of Israel' are using Helicopter gunships,F16s and all manner of weapons to attack the Palestinians
Philip Vas , LONDON

Al Qaradawi is inciting suicide bombing. He should never be allowed here. I was in Jerusalem in January on a bus not far from another bus that was blown up by a bomber with horrific consequences. It is utter hypocrisy to admit such people to our country and at the same time talk of passing laws against religious hatred. This is moderate Islam! It is time our government stopped this insanity. Our forces are sent into battle and danger in the fight against terror abroad whilst we serenade terrorists at home. Shame on our government and civil powers for justifying this.
(Rev)John Goldby, Shieldaig Ross-Shire Scotland

One of the problems as I see it with views such as those held by someone like the Sheikh, is that when he presents his opinions, it is not strictly the equivalent of a secular individual presenting an opinion; instead he is giving a religious interpretation that such violent actions can be justified, i.e. he is saying that "God says that it is right to do it". That is where I believe that such opinions move into the realm of incitement. The fact that he is said to be a highly respected cleric and religious scholar in my opinion adds great weight to that incitement, as well as making it even more irresponsible to tell those who would naturally have a great respect for such a man that such actions are somehow good.
Matthew Lenton, London, UK

The British public and (by implication those of the United States) have a duty to understand the discontent and frustration at the west's actions in the middle east. Attempts to stifle the views of learned clerics such as Dr. Al-Qaradawi illustrate a negligent and foolish approach to our involvement there. It is my view that we have a duty to understand the views of those who challenge our comfortable conceptions of justice and what is right, and attempts to prevent the expression of such views are an outrageous example of burying one's head in the sand.
T.G. Tolliss, York

The Sheikh should not have been allowed in. He and his followers have stated on your programme that he is a moderate and extremely learned theologian. This means that many Muslims in Britain and not only extremists will be encouraged to racial hatred against Jews. This is an interesting development, coming just at a time when the Muslim community itself is trying to persuade the government to introduce a law against racial discrimination which will primarily assist their own community. Incidentally, such a law, if passed, would render the sort of questioning and probing demonstrated by the interviewer and the Labour MP illegal.
Dr. Irene Lancaster, University of Manchester, England

Funny how the Sheik's been in the country before yet no one said anything. I guess it takes a right-wing paper like the Sun to stir up trouble. By the way, did the Sun complain when the French racist Henry Le Pen came to this country to support the BNP? Or lobby against Berniscoli when he came to this country after criticising Islam? Where was the Sun's conscious when China's Jiang Zemin came to Britain?
Adem, London

Many British and American men, who were prepared to give their lives in the allied bombing of German civilians in our fight for freedom are still heroes to us, particularly if they knew it would be near certain death. We should support all fights for freedom around the world, whether or not it is our own. It seems the Americans are only happy for it to be them that kill to protect their freedom. Let's hope Britain and Europe can be less hypocritical.
Richard Chiles, Oxted Surrey

I'd rather Qaradawi came to the UK then President Bush, at least Qaradawi is prepared to use his mind.
Delia Smythe, Norwich


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