Guardian

What do Mitt Romney and Yusuf al-Qaradawi have in common? Ask the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker


Brian Whitaker has had many assignments during his nearly twenty-five year career at the Guardian, including a long stint as the paper’s Middle East editor.

So, the Guardian veteran’s image and moniker caught my eye in the comment section below CiF’s latest edition of Divine Dispatches by .

Whitaker was responding to Shariatmadari’s final bullet point about “speculation as to whether Mormons would have undue influence over the White House” (in the event of a Mitt Romney Presidency).

Here’s Whitaker’s reply:

Whitaker linked to an essay he wrote in 2005, while Middle East editor, titled “Fundamental Union“, which began thusly:

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a controversial Islamic scholar who approves of wife-beating and believes in traditional family values. The Mormon church, having abandoned polygamy more than a century ago, believes in traditional families too.

With that much in common, they have joined forces to “defend the family” and fight progressive social policies at the United Nations.

Intrigued by a comparison between the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader and the Utah based Church of  Latter Day Saints, to which Romney is a member, I read on.

“The Doha conference”, Whitaker informs us, “provides a striking example of growing cooperation between the Christian right (especially in the United States) and conservative Muslims.” [emphasis mine]

Further intrigued by a Guardian editor evoking the specter of a burgeoning Evangelical-Islamism Alliance – which, after all, represents something approaching apostasy at an institution which continually claims that the Christian right (and America more broadly) is immutably Islamophobic – I read further.

The debate about family values, opined Whitaker, does not “follow the usual dividing lines of international politics. The battle is between liberal secularists and conservatives…who think religion has a role in government.” 

On this issue, Whitaker’s flourish concludes, “the United States now sits in the religious camp alongside the Islamic regimes: not so much a clash of civilisations, more an alliance of fundamentalisms.” [emphasis mine]

While there is, to be sure, much to criticize about the Christian right in the U.S. – such as their views on gay rights and other social issues – it takes a truly breathtaking leap to posit anything approaching a moral overlap with Islamism, particularly the brand of Islamist thought championed by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Al-Qaradawi’s Islamism (which, along with the even more extreme Salafists, garnered a strong majority of the vote in Egypt’s recent elections) doesn’t merely condemn gays, but calls for their execution

Al-Qaradawi’s Islamism approves of female genital mutilation, and believes that women who are the victims of rape arguably should be punished for their apparent sin of tempting their innocent male attacker! 

Al-Qaradawi Qaradawi also supports acts of terrorism innocent American and Israeli civilians – and issued a fatwa in 2003 specifically authorizing the use of women in suicide attacks.

Finally – and strangely absent, even in passing, anywhere in Whitaker’s nearly 2,000 word essay – there’s the issue of Al-Qaradawi’s extreme, explicit and unapologetic antisemitism.

Such Jew-hatred, which Whitaker ever so curiously omitted, includes the MB spiritual leader’s citation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in “religious deliberations”, and his incitement of violence specifically against Jews.

More recently, Al-Qaradawi’s (Mormon-style?) Islamism explicitly endorsed Hitler’s genocide against the Jews, and was quoted in a Wikileaks cable literally calling on Allah to kill every last Jew on earth.

Whatever legitimate criticisms their may be regarding Mormon religious doctrine, even a cursory view of the Church (and its leadership) would disabuse those sincerely interested in such an inquiry of any suggestion that the faith is compromised by even a hint of such extremism. 

Whitaker’s bizarre, tall tale of twin, morally overlapping, fundamentalisms represents a classic Guardian polemicism: preconceived, politically convenient, and ideologically driven conclusions in desperate search of anything even resembling supporting evidence.   

9 replies »

  1. As much influence as Islamists have in the US, UK and the rest of Europe, Mir Whitaker? Surely not!

    What an unfortunate choice of Yusuf Qaradawi as a role model for co-operation with any kufar

    Whitaker must either have been in his cups or losing it.

    But then he’s the one who says that MEMRI is not to be trusted because it persists in publishing articles and videos which show Islamists in their true colours.

    Whitaker is so far enmeshed with the world view of Islam that he too has lost contact with the distinction between fantasy (or what they want us to believe) and reality.

    He’s ideal for the Guardian. Given enough rope and one day…..

  2. In all this time it seems No Brain Whittaker has learnt nothing about islam and has wasted his time as Guardian’s (BBC’s – for they are one and the same) ME editor.

    No Brain once said (in an exchange on Cif) that he prefers the muezzin’s call to prayer blasted through the loudspeakers in English city ghettos these days (which incidentally proclaims intolerance towards other faiths and prophets) than the “noise” of church bells heard through the windows of his home in an English village.

    The man is clueless.

  3. I don’t buy the idea of any direct comparison between Romney and Qaradawi other than that both surnames end in the syllable “ee”. If my political instincts are good, neither will want to see themselves linked with the other, and that may form enough of a casus belli when Mitt comes to power. Theoretically, the culture of polygamy that they share ought to soften their feelings for each other but, statistically, the chances of them hooking up are slim.
    That leaves us with Brian’s earlier positing of an Evangelical / Islamist alliance.
    Now you guys have this picture of Qaradawi as an evil bigot. He’s certainly no Jo Schmo in my book, more a romantic hero.
    Picture this historic vision, filmed on an epic scale. Marvel at the mysterious Qaradawi of Arabia, gimlet-eyed and sabre drawn, as he gallops from continent to continent across the good flat earth on his trusty steed, Barack, saving us all from the error of our ways! Thrill to his love for the high-minded Hillary and the magnificent Michelle! Watch in awe how he plucks his faithful servant Ken from the depths of Hackney Marshes and installs him as Mayor of one of the foremost cities of the world (after Bab al-Shariah)! Fear for him as he takes on the evil dragon, Mitt, and slays him with just the sight of the stain on his false teeth! Now breathe slowly.

  4. Brian Whitaker is a disingenuous prig.

    The only alliance with Islamists is the “progressively fascist”/Islamist alliance of which Der Guardian, propagandists like Brian Whitaker and the FAKE “anti-war” fifth columnists are prime examples.

    • It takes a certain amount of intelligence to be disingenuous TGIAI, which rules out Whitaker. He’s just a second-rate hack, enamoured of all things Arab (and therefore an Islamophile too) who actually knows very little and makes up what he doesn’t know. In other words, he’s ideal for the Guardian

      None of what he wrote about Romney made sense and the segue with Al-Qaradawi was frankly ridiculous. It wouldn’t have gained a pass mark in a sixth form essay.