By Frank Crimi:
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, host of a popular Al Jazeera television show and a highly influential Islamic cleric with a long history of poisonous views toward women, homosexuals and Jews, has now sanctioned the killing of those who leave Islam.
The 86-year-old Egyptian-born cleric, who has been called the spiritual and intellectual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, aired his enlightened views on the deadly Islamic punishment for apostates on a recent broadcast of Shariah and Life — his long-running program that enjoys an estimated worldwide audience of 60 million viewers.
Qaradawi addressed his Al Jazeera viewers, quoting from a series of Koranic verses and hadiths, which read in part, “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is that they should be murdered or crucified…Kill whomever changes his faith [from Islam]…”
Moreover, according to Qaradawi, Islam’s diligent use of executing apostates had served to ensure Islam’s survival since the 15th century, telling viewers that “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam wouldn’t exist today.”
Unfortunately, Qaradawi’s on-air fatwa carries some considerable weight given his standing as one of the most influential Sunni Muslim clerics in the world, prominence gained as host of Shariah and Life, founder of the popular website IslamOnline and author of over 100 books on Islam.
Yet, while Qaradawi has studiously over the years tried to posit himself as the tolerant face of Islam, his efforts have been belied by his long-standing endorsement of, among other things, wife beating, Palestinian suicide bombers, and the killing of homosexuals and Jews.
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