Peter Tatchell has sent me a copy of the short dossier on Qaradawi, which he provided to Madeleine Bunting three weeks before her excusatory interview with Qaradawi. You can read that dossier here. It sets out, in summary and sourced, this man’s advocacy of:
– Executing homosexuals to keep society pure
– Killing apostates – those who have rejected Islam
– Terrorism and suicide bombing of innocent civilians
– Mutilating women’s genitals
– Forcing women to wear the hijab
– Domestic violence against women
It is very clear from the interview that Madeleine Bunting made use of the dossier. The use to which she put it was to construct a defence of Qaradawi.
Bunting’s interview contains no evidence that Qaradawi was pressed on any of the “tricky” points at all. In some cases – on his support for the punishment of homosexuality – Bunting diminishes Qaradawi’s stance to the mere “horror of immorality” of a man with a patchy “understanding of the west“. On the beating of women, she provides only the lightest possible critical perspective of Qaradawi’s views: suggesting merely that his thinking has been “overtaken by other scholars”. Worse: she provides an account of Qaradawi’s teaching on suicide bombing which is a misrepresentation and sanitising of Qaradawi’s position and role in these acts of terrorism.
On two important issues – Qaradawi teaches that a husband is obliged to compel a woman to wear a hijab, and personally supports female genital mutilation – Bunting is silent. If Qaradawi is indeed the “foremost scholar of Sunni Islam” his fatwas on these subjects have a direct impact upon the human rights of women living in Great Britain.
Of course, Bunting is entitled to write any article she chooses. If she sees her role as facilitating an “uncomfortable” alliance with a man who the west “needs“, then I can see why she has chosen to produce this piece of advocacy.
Whether the Guardian should be assisting in the rehabilitation of a man who encourages his followers to mutilate and oppress women, and who procures war crimes, is quite another question.