Norway’s Islamic groups distance themselves from Holocaust remarks

Oslo – The Islamic Council of Norway on Monday distanced itself from remarks attributed to a leading Islamic scholar quoted as saying the Holocaust was a ‘divine punishment’ against the Jews.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born, Qatar-based scholar made the alleged comments in a speech on the Arab broadcaster al-Jazeera in January, prompting widespread condemnation.

Senaid Kobilica, leader of the Islamic Council of Norway, issued a statement saying it was ‘unacceptable’ if such an important religious figure as al-Qaradawi had made such remarks, according to Oslo daily Aftenposten.

Kobilica said the council also planned to raise the matter with the European Council for Fatwa and Research, of which al-Qaradawi is member.

Islamic leaders in Denmark and Sweden have also distanced themselves from the comments.

Danish Imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen told Danish news agency Ritzau that he did not support al-Qaradawi’s stance, and that it could not be excused by the angry debate following the recent Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Pedersen was seen as a moderating force two years ago during the crisis sparked by a Danish newspaper’s publication various cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Those cartoons sparked violent protests worldwide in 2006, and the artist was forced into hiding after receiving death threats.


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