Following are excerpts from a sermon delivered by leading Sunni scholar Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Qatar TV on September 14, 2012.
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: We have become accustomed to seeing the Westerners affronting, from time to time, what is holy to Islam and affronting the Islamic nation.
This great nation, the nation of Islam, numbers of 1.6 billion people. All these Muslims attest that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
In various countries, Westerners affront the Prophet Muhammad. The Muslims did not offend them, so this cannot be viewed as tit for tat, insult for insult, affront for affront. The Muslims have not offended anyone. They mind their own business, building themselves up, especially in the countries of the Arab Spring, which restored their dignity and freedom, and began a process of rebuilding on sound foundations.
The Muslims have not affronted anyone. The Westerners, however, affront us from time to time. They insult the very essence of our being, the very essence of our creed and of what we believe in – Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.
In the past, we protested against Denmark and their affront to the Prophet Muhammad, when they published cartoons that are inappropriate even with regard to a regular person, let alone with regard to the greatest personality the world has ever known – the Prophet Muhammad, who taught mankind virtue and morality.
The affront by the Westerners is just like the affront by the Danes in the past. We let this matter pass. Then the Pope himself affronted the Prophet Muhammad in a lecture, and I responded to him. Then we kept quiet, and some time has passed.
Now, along comes this deplorable and ugly film, which was produced by a group of Americans – not by all Americans. Brothers, it is wrong to pin the blame for abominations on people who are not responsible for them. It was not the Americans who made this film, but some American individuals. An evil extremist with a foul reputation, who burned the Koran in the past, joined forces with these people, some of whom are Christians, many of them, I'm sad to say, Egyptian Copts who emigrated to the US long ago.
They harbor hostility toward their country and toward their Muslim brethren in Egypt. Why? By Allah, who other than the Muslims protects the Christians in Egypt? The Americans cannot protect them, and nor can the British, the French, the Germans, or anybody else. Nobody can protect them except for their neighboring brothers.
We must understand this and be faithful to our religion. Throwing stones at embassies and setting fire to them is not faithfulness, and nor is killing an ambassador, along with the people with him. This should not be our approach. Absolutely not.
The US as a country is not behind this. We say to the US: You must take a strong stance and try to confront this extremism like the Europeans do. This is not art. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is nothing bur curses and insults. Does the freedom to curse and insult constitute freedom of speech? When you curse someone, saying "to hell with your father"... Is this art? This is depravity. These are curses.
We do not want the nations to learn to curse, we want them to learn virtue and manners. That is what we should be teaching the world, as well as our own nation.