Bob Pitt at Islamophobia Watch takes Hitch to task, for suggesting that leading Sunni and Shiite clerics are excessively preoccupied with such trivialities as the MoToons, and are doing too little to combat sectarian slaughter:
But where are the denunciations from centers of Sunni and Shiite authority of the daily murder and torture of Islamic co-religionists? Of the regular desecration of holy sites and holy books? Of the paranoid insults thrown so carelessly and callously by one Muslim group at another? This mounting ghastliness is a bit more worthy of condemnation, surely, than a few Danish cartoons or a false rumor about a profaned copy of the Quran in Guantanamo.
Bob Pitt’s response is to direct readers to a report of an inter-denominational Islamic conference on combatting sectarianism in Iraq.
The only problem with that is that one of the heroes of Islamophobia Watch – the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Sheikh Yussef Qaradawi – used the conference to launch a nasty attack on the Shiites:
Leading Qatar-based Sunni cleric Sheikh Yussef Qaradawi on Saturday denounced what he described as “attempts to convert (Sunnis) into Shiism” in countries that are predominantly Sunni.
“It is not permissible for a sect to try to spread in a country that is dominated by the other sect,” he told the conference.
Egyptian-born Qaradawi also accused Shiites in Iraq and neighboring Iran of harboring militias that kill and displace Sunni Arabs in Iraq, which is wracked by sectarian killings that claim scores of lives daily.
Apparently, Iranian scholar Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, who chaired the closing session, attempted a reconciliation with Qaradawi, by blaming “the escalating tension between Sunnis and Shiites on the “real enemy” of both, an allusion to Israel and the United States”.
But although Qaradawi certainly hates jews and Americans, Taskhiri’s tempting appeal for unity was insufficient to overcome his loathing of Shiites. Here’s an extract from a self-penned poem Qaradawi read out a couple of years ago, on the Muslim Brotherhood TV station, Al Jazeera:
The Crusaders have returned once more, and they move about in the [Iraqi] lowlands.
They spread perversion in the land, as though it were ground free for all to graze in.
They are again spilling blood, without shame of exposure.
And the Shi’ites play well the role assigned to them.
The treacherous role, whose beginning and end are known to all.
The inter-denominational conference was not a success:
The participants “came with the intention of proving the other wrong and not listening … which makes it tantamount to a dialogue of the deaf,” Mahmud Azb, a professor of Islamic civilization at France’s Sorbonne university, told AFP.
This, I think, is the point that Hitch is making.
Nice of Bob Pitt to provide the evidence to back up that analysis.