Egypt needs an Islam Online
The Qatari government’s decision to remove Sheikh Youssef el-Qaradawi from his position as head of the Al-Balagh Cultural Society, which runs the Islam Online website, is demonstrative of the failures crippling the Arab world.
Qatar has blocked the most respected Islamic website across the Arab world, one which has kept a professional distance from both the Egyptian and Qatari governments, in turn giving it the independence to express its views. Additionally, Islam Online had some of the most competent journalists in the Arab world.
The Qatari government’s decision goes against several Islamic values–such as fraternity and solidarity–leaving us with savage conflicts of interest and bitter competition over power.
Human values are part of our history and identity, but we have managed to transform all this positive heritage into another reason for fighting. This is our ingenious way of destroying our common ground, while other peoples in the world have managed to build a common present on the rubble of past conflicts. The miscalculations of our rulers, the ignorance of our elites, and the arrogance of our rich have turned the common ground we share into another reason for disagreement.
But Qatar can be excused for acting as a leading power, as genuine leading powers in the region have accepted being put in the shade.
I still believe, though, that we should hold Qatar accountable for closing down Islam Online, an objective and highly professional website.
Is it a coincidence that the website was shut down after it very accurately managed to document Israeli crimes in Gaza and published them on its Arabic and English websites?
Egypt is in great need of a website as professional in tone as Islam Online. But Egypt only seems to think about how much revenue it can make out of football shows and programs for the so-called new preachers. It is not ready to create the appropriate climate for launching a website like Islam Online.
Egypt, too, is responsible for driving el-Qaradawi out of the country. While Qatar gave him a home, his own country couldn’t. El-Qaradawi is the author of 150 books and could have been appointed Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar had there been a mentality here that respects scientists.
I believe it’s time for the moderate Qaradawi to come back to Egypt, to his adherents and family.