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NY Times Whitewashes Return of Anti-Semitic Egyptian Cleric

NY Times Whitewashes Return of Anti-Semitic Egyptian Cleric

The New York Times has a story on the return of Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi to Egypt (emphasis mine):

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni cleric who is banned from the United States and Britain for supporting violence against Israel and American forces in Iraq, delivered his first public sermon here in 50 years on Friday, emerging as a powerful voice in the struggle to shape what kind of Egyptian state emerges from the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak….

Sheik Qaradawi, a popular television cleric whose program reaches an audience of tens of millions worldwide, addressed a rapt audience of more than a million Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the uprising and honor those who died….

On Friday, he struck themes of democracy and pluralism, long hallmarks of his writing and preaching. He began his sermon by saying that he was discarding the customary opening “Oh Muslims,” in favor of “Oh Muslims and Copts,” referring to Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. He praised Muslims and Christians for standing together in Egypt’s revolution and even lauded the Coptic Christian “martyrs” who once fought the Romans and Byzantines. “I invite you to bow down in prayer together,” he said.

Scholars who have studied his work say Sheik Qaradawi has long argued that Islamic law supports the idea of a pluralistic, multiparty, civil democracy.

In fact, Sheikh Qaradawi is a vile anti-Semite who seeks the destruction of Israel:

That a million Egyptians showed up to cheer Sheikh Qaradawi is a sign of bad things to come.

Update:  MEMRI has more on the speech in Tahrir Square, including the call to conquer Jerusalem.

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As in Iran, the Egyptian "Ayatollah" returns. This is going to be a great "democracy". Those advocating for Egyptians' "right of self-determination" might want to think twice about their naive foolishness. We have a stake in the outcome. The kind of society they want may bring about dire consequences to the world.

Many of them may dream of martyrdom for Allah but I can't believe that being confronted with that likelihood most of them will suffer that fate, not as individuals to be honored later, but in the anonymity of a large statistic of nuclear casualties they would feel so sanguine.

They have been stuck in their own Dark Age for centuries but dream of global conquest based on a miracle. Whatever solution we may be contemplating to end this pathology, I just don't see democracy as one of them. More likely, one or more of these countries will have to be sacrificed to the ravages of war.

This is why we still have nuclear weapons. It should be a strength but we have managed to turn it into a weakness.

Egypt has its own Al Sharpton it seems. Charming character. I'd give the wart on my left eyelid to have him as a guest to dinner. I kept expecting to see "Captions provided by The Onion."

I understand that, like all of us, "layers and layers of fact-checkers" and editors need time off too (all at the same time?), but how can these contradictory statements exist in the same piece?

"Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni cleric who is banned from the United States and Britain for supporting violence against Israel and American forces in Iraq …"


"On Friday, he struck themes of democracy and pluralism, long hallmarks of his writing and preaching."

Author David Kirkpatrick needs to be watched carefully for more innocent mistakes when all the editors are away on vacation again next time.

One is left stunned by this, wondering what the short or long-term "game plan" of the New York Times could possibly be in heaping praise on the man, while ignoring his past?

Have they become such short-sighted political acolytes and cheerleaders for the great grubby left that they would simply whitewash the past rantings of a virulent anti-Semitic cleric in order to, say, be indirectly critical of the Israeli Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu?

Or, is this just "wishful thinking?" Are David Kirkpatrick and the NYT in such denial that they think that speaking "kindly" of this man could possibly somehow have a moderating influence on him, or on his followers in the Arab street, should they swiftly grab power in Egypt?

Just this past December 17th, MEMRI also reported that he said that he supported Palestinian suicide bombings, and openly declared his opposition to the peace process!

Funny how Kirkpatrick and his editors at the NYT seems to have missed that one!

Are they just caught up in the lingering (but quickly evaporating) euphoria, perhaps anxiously but still publicly maintaining a happy game face, and still celebrating the "revolution" of the people in Egypt, in spite of the many troubling media-related incidents, such as the "brutal sexual assault" perpetrated on CBS's Lara Logan, and numerous other violent assaults levied on other media personalities and outlets?

And, why would they not at least have listen to and report on all of what he said before reporting so favorably, as noted in your update? Even a little perspective would be nice! This is just propaganda.

Does this type of reporting now signal (or even enthusiastically begin) a process mirroring the sort of willful denial of NYT reporter Walter Duranty when he was filing stories on Joe Stalin in the very late 20s and 30s?

He went so far as supporting them in Iraq, but was miffed, when it happened in Doha, his neck of
the woods