-- Egyptian cleric and Al-Jazeera star Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi delivered an unusually harsh sermon January 9 that condemned Jews for spreading "corruption in the land" and called for "the revenge of Allah" upon them. The sermon, delivered at a Qatari mosque, was broadcast on the Doha-based Al Jazeera Arabic Channel. -- Al-Qaradawi condemned the United States for acting "like a god in this world" and for supporting Israel, "whether right or wrong." He cautioned the U.S. and the West that "according to the law of Allah, they should collapse." -- Sheikh Al-Qaradawi reserved a special warning for Arab leaders, who are "detached" from the masses that give legitimacy to their rule. He called their inability to respond to the Gaza crisis "a disgrace" and stated that "if this goes on, they will not be able to remain in power." --

Dr. Abdul Hameed Al-Ansari, Professor of Islamic Studies at the Qatar University College of Law, disagreed strongly with Al-Qaradawi's call for violence. He told Poloff Caudill on January 13 that even in response to violence, Islam demanded restraint for the preservation of human life. Ansari called for a ceasefire and for international pressure on Hamas and Israel to reach a lasting peace. -------------- (SBU) COMMENTS -------------- -- Al-Qaradawi's sermon came days after he headed a delegation of Islamic clerics to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Jordan with the support of the Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (see reftel). Given Al Qaradawi's high profile on the Gaza issue, the broadcast of his sermon on Doha-based Al Jazeera indicates that its content had at least the tacit approval of the Qatari leadership. -- Even on the very sensitive issue of Gaza, Dr. Al-Ansari's comments show that dissenting voices can still be heard in Qatar. End Key Points and Comments. ¶

1. (U) In a Friday, January 9, sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, Imam Yousef Al-Qaradawi condemned Jews for spreading "corruption in the land," and for victimizing the Muslim people. He cited the Babylonian Captivity and the Roman conquest as historical examples of God's punishment of Israel. He said "We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and, Allah willing, it will be by our own hands...Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one." (NOTE: Qaradawi is a regular guest on Al Jazeera's weekly program "Religion and Life" but on this occasion, Qaradawi was addressing worshippers at the Munira al-Suweidi mosque in Doha. END NOTE)

¶2. (U) Al-Qaradawi also condemned the United States for acting "like a god in this world" and for supporting Israel, "whether right or wrong." He cautioned the U.S. and the West that "according to the law of Allah, they should collapse," just as the Soviet Union collapsed, for their support of "inequity against justice." ¶3. (U) Al-Qaradawi reserved a special warning for Arab leaders. He accused them of being "detached" from the masses that give legitimacy to their rule. He said that their inability to respond to the Gaza crisis was "a disgrace" and charged them with turning a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinian people there. He warned that unless Arab leaders responded to the cries of their people in suppoAjQ