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WikiLeaks: 2005-06-13: 05DOHA1056: Conversation with Islamic Scholar Yousef Al-Qaradawi

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 06:18 PM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05DOHA1056 2005-06-13 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 001056 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2015 
Classified By: Ambassador Chase Untermeyer for reason 1.4 (d). 
1. (C) P/E Chief met with influential Islamic scholar Dr. 
Yousef al-Qaradawi in May. Qaradawi maintained an attitude of 
intellectual superiority and aloofness during the meeting. He 
made a point to reaffirm his well-known positions on suicide 
bombings against Israel and on interacting with Jews. He 
expressed frustration at the revocation of his U.S. visa and 
said he did not have links with terrorism. With Qaradawi were 
his son, Dr. Mohamed al Qaradawi, assistant professor at 
Qatar University; Dr. Hamed al-Marwani, professor of Sharia, 
and one other assistant. End Summary. 
2. (C) In an initial meeting at his offices at Qatar 
University, Qaradawi seemed unwilling to have a friendly 
conversation, either because of his religious and 
intellectual status or because of a perception of being under 
attack from the U.S. He remained formal, sitting behind his 
desk and wearing his outer cloak. He did not treat the 
meeting as an opportunity for dialogue but as one to deliver 
expansive criticisms of U.S. policy. 
Visa Cancellation 
3. (C) Qaradawi began the conversation discussing the 
withdrawal of his U.S. visa in 2000 or earlier (he did not 
recall). He said this came after his participation in regular 
religious conferences in the U.S. that were, he said, 
"positive and useful." P/E Chief said that during this time 
Qaradawi was known to be voicing support for Palestinian 
suicide bombers. Qaradawi took hold of the opportunity to 
make clear that "I support the martyrdom operations." These 
were justified as the only way to respond to the "rape" of 
the Palestinian people and the destruction of their homes. He 
called these suicides the "dearest type" of weapon, because 
it is the only weapon available. "How can I align myself with 
Zionists when the Palestinian people are being destroyed in 
this manner?" he asked, reinforcing the steadfastness of his 
position on suicide bombing. 
4. (C) He added that the cancellation of his visa before 
September 2001 was strange because the Islamic world 
supported the west during the cold war and the U.S. should 
have capitalized on this alliance. 
5. (C) Qaradawi went through a long list of U.S. policy 
errors that have brought the stature of the U.S. down in the 
eyes of foreigners over the past 40 years. The errors focused 
on U.S. support for non-democratic regimes in the Middle East 
and keeping quiet while they restrict human rights. This 
appeared to be a stump speech; Qaradawi did not answer when 
asked if he had observed any recent changes in U.S. policy 
supporting democratic change. 
U.S. is the Undemocratic Force Behind Arab Regimes 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
6. (C) Qaradawi mentioned Tunisia as one example of Arab 
despotism supported by the U.S. He said Tunisian women who 
choose to wear the hijab cannot register at high schools or 
college. P/E Chief noted that the U.S position in support of 
human rights in Tunisia is well known, while Arab states 
avoid criticizing Tunisia on human rights issues. He 
responded that these Arab states are undemocratic themselves 
and could not be held to account. 
Support for Iraqi Insurgency 
7. (C) On Iraq, Qaradawi said he supports the insurgency 
because it is a resistance to occupation by a foreign power. 
P/E Chief asked whether he supported the insurgency even as 
it kills Iraqis. He answered that the Iraqi government had 
been put in place by the U.S. and was thereby an organ of the 
8. (C) He talked at some length about the Middle East as the 
inheritor of many civilizations from Pharaonic to Assyrian -- 
listing them all -- and how Islam respects all human beings 
as descended from the same "father." He made the point in 
several ways that the funds used on the Iraq war would have 
been better spent on humanitarian projects. 
Israel/Palestine is Top Issue 
9. (C) Qaradawi called the Israeli issue the number one 
problem in the region. He said he will not engage in dialogue 
with Jews who are Israeli or who support Zionism. He will not 
participate in the upcoming Dialogue of Religions in Doha at 
the end of June, to which Jews have been invited for the 
first time. He said he accepts dialogue with Jews who do not 
support Israel, and he mentioned a meeting he had in London 
in that regard. 
10. (C) Qaradawi did not say whether he wished to continue a 
dialogue with the USG. He said that any dialogue must be 
based on a relationship of equality; he opposed agreeing to 
any dialogue with one's oppressor. 
11. (C) Embassy sought the meeting in order to learn more 
about a man whose statements are notorious but whom few 
Americans have ever met. It was also important to get to know 
the men around him. No further contact with Qaradawi is 
planned, although P/E Chief has maintained contact with his 
son, an American-trained professor of engineering, who seeks 
to travel to the U.S. for an academic seminar. 

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