Sometimes Nick Cohen writes really well, but this week's attack on Qaradawi wasn't one of those times. I guess, in his eyes, I'd be a pseudo-leftist. I read the GuardianObserver, believe in tolerance and social justice, and reckon the only admirable act of Ken Livingstone's mayorship has been his support for Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi. It's that last clause that marks me out as an apostate leftist. According to Cohen, "[y]ou have to go back to the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939 to find a similar accommodation with the dictatorial right." Yikes.
Cohen rightly describes Qaradawi as a theologian, yet he critiques Qaradawi on secular grounds, relying on secular sources of information, and showing no evidence of having read anything by Qaradawi in its context. And Cohen's main source seems to be Outrage, which is, er, outrageous (it's like going to IslamOnline to learn about the gay experience). But Cohen goes even further than Outrage in decontextualizing Qaradawi. For example he writes:
In June 2003 Qaradawi pondered the question of how a Muslim who decided of his own free will to convert to another religion or become an atheist should be treated. Instead of saying it was none of his business what adults choose to believe, Qaradawi replied: 'He is no more than a traitor to his religion and his people and thus deserves killing.'
He based this on the first item in Outrage's dossier.
1. Dr al-Qaradawi supports the killing of people who have turned away from Islam ("apostates").
In a fatwa issued in June 2003 concerning organ donation, Dr al-Qaradawi stated: "it is not permissible to donate it to an apostate as he is no more than a traitor to his religion and his people and thus deserves killing."
A question on organ donation? But Cohen made it sound as if it was a general fatwa to kill apostates. That is dishonest, abject journalism. One doesn't have to agree with Qaradawi's interpretation of Shari'a to believe he shouldn't be demonized by 'true-leftist' journalists like Nick Cohen.