Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post (Analysis)
January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority on Sunday demanded a public apology from one of the most prominent Islamic scholars, who called for stoning President Mahmoud Abbas to death.

Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said that if it is proven that Abbas had instigated Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip, he must be stoned.

"During the debate raised over the UN's Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes against Gaza, there were reports that Abbas encouraged Israel to launch its attack," Qaradawi said in a Friday khutba (sermon) at the Omar bin al-Khattab mosque in Doha, Qatar.

"There also were reports that he foiled a vote on the report by the UN Human Rights Council," he said, calling on the Arab League to investigate the matter.

"If it is proven that Abbas instigated the Israeli war against Gaza, he deserves to be publicly stoned in Mecca because this would be a betrayal on his part," he added.

Qaradawi emphasized, however, that he was not issuing a fatwa, or Islamic religious decree, against Abbas. He said his appeal was aimed at prompting the Arab League and other Arab and Islamic groups to launch an inquiry into Abbas's alleged involvement in the war.

PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash strongly condemned Qara-dawi's statements against Abbas and demanded that he publicly apologize to the Palestinians for insulting their president.

Habbash accused Qaradawi, who is a Qatari citizen living in Doha, of exploiting his status and the podium offered him in mosques for incitement and slander.

The PA's official news agency, Wafa, noted that Qaradawi was the one who had issued fatwas allowing Hamas to kill innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The agency said that the scholar was being ungrateful to Abbas, who was the one who found him a job in Qatar when the PA president was a senior government official in the emirate.


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