Norway: Waiting for the fatwa

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet recently published a monologue by a Muslim homosexual in Norway (here, Norwegian). In it he mentions how the Islamic Council of Norway (IRN) got involved in the topic of homosexuality and Islam.

Several months ago there was a major debate in Norway about the Muslim approach to homosexuality. The Islamic Council of Norway was harshly criticized for refusing to reject the notion of a death sentence for homosexuals. Indeed, I think it is very difficult for any believing Muslim to reject the death sentence for homosexuals, since that is the law according to Sharia in orthodox Muslim countries.

In any case, more than three months ago, the Islamic Council of Norway mollified reporters and the public debate by stating that they would turn to the European Council for Fatwa and Research and ask for a ruling on how European Muslims should approach the subject.

Three months have passed, and no reply has been published. I had turned to the Islamic Council of Norway, but received no reply there either.

I see several options:
(1) The European Fatwa Council wasn't really approached at all.
(2) The European Fatwa Council didn't make a ruling.
(3) The European Fatwa Council made a ruling nobody wants to publish.

Or it might just be that the European Fatwa Council is a figment of the imagination. In any case, I think it's time the Islamic Council of Norway updates the public.

See also: Norway: Islamic Council turns to European Fatwa Council for ruling on homosexuals, Norway: Homosexual immigrant youth fear for their lives, Norway: the story of a homosexual Muslim


FreeSpeech said...

The European Fatwa Council is headed by Al-Qaradawi.

Any questions?

Esther said...

Hey freespeech,

The questions above still stand..

Anonymous said...

I have many homosexual Muslim friends (both in Europe and in the Middle East), many of who are also believing Muslims. It's time for Muslims (and the Christian right for that matter) who refer to shari'a when defending (or not condemning) death penalty for homosexuals to start thinking about what kind of world they want to live in. Discrimination and hate come in all shapes and forms and I have no patience with that kind of extreme intolerance.

Anonymous said...

In principle, the European Council of Fatwa and Research meets twice a year, one time in Dublin and then in another European city:

1997 London (founding session) 29-30 March 1997

1997 Sarajevo (1.) 28-30 August 1997

1998 Dublin (2.) hosted by Al-Maktoum Charity Organisation in the Islamic Cultural Centre 9-11/10/1998

1999 Cologne (3.) 19-22/5/1999 (hosted by Milli Görüs)

1999 Dublin (4.) hosted by Al-Maktoum Charity Organisation in the Islamic Cultural Centre 27-31 Oct. 1999

2000 Dublin (5.) hosted by Al-Maktoum Charity Organisation in the Islamic Cultural Centre 4th till 07th of May 2000

2000 Dublin (6.) 28th of August to the 1st of September/2000

2001 Dublin (7.) 24-28 January 2001 (fatwa: interest given to charities)

2001 Valencia (8.) 18-22/7/2001

2002 Paris (9.) 13-17 of July 2002

2003 Dublin (10.) 22-26 of January, 2003

2003 Stockholm (11.) 1-7of July, 2003 (with al-Qaradawi)

2004 Dublin (12.) 31 December 2003 - 4 of January 2004 (

2004 London (13.) 10. July 2004 (al-Qaradawi invited by Ken Livingston) "While abiding by the host country’s laws, Muslims are also asked to form Islamic bodies to organize their personal issues in accordance with Shari`ah," said the ECFR.

2005 Dublin (14.) 29th - 30th June 2005 (administrative and financial matters of the council, marriage/family issues)

2005 Istanbul (15.) 29th of June-03rd of July, 2005 (UK paid al-Qaradawi`s airfare)

2006 Istanbul (16.) 3rd - 9th July 2006 (with al-Qaradawi)(

2007 Sarajevo (17.) May 19 2007 (without Qaradawi) (

And no session since. Al-Qaradawi did not visit Ireland since 2005 (as far as i know), which could be explained by this Irish report:

"SUICIDE bomb supporter Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi faces a ban from Ireland. The fundamentalist Islamic cleric, who's HQ is in Dublin, is being monitored by the authorities.
And security sources revealed he could have his permission to enter the country revoked. The Government said the Sheikh's comments on human bombs are "a cause for concern". Al-Qaradawi, based in Qatar, is chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, based at the Dublin Islamic Centre and has travelled to the city on a number of occasions."

So al-Qaradawi visits Istanbul (AKP government!) or stays in the arab world:

14-16 July 2007: conference in the Qatari capital city of Doha in honor of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, which Reuven Paz commented "The Coronation of the King of the Golden Path: Sheikh Qaradawi Becomes Imam Al-Wasatiyyah and a School and Movement by Itself" PRISM August 2007

So, in order to answer the question: maybe the ECFR has become dysfunctional due to al-Qaradawis forced absences and his illness. But I don`t think that the ECFR would give a fatwa on homosexuality if unconvenient:

According to Alexandre Caeiro in a 2003 paper the secretary general decides which questions/issues are chosen for the fatwas of the sessions. The selected questions are sent to the ECFR members in advance. Caeiro reports that "occasionally, the members have decided not to publish the fatwa in order to prevent criticism, or not to issue a collective answer altogether."

And al-Qaradawis views on homosexuality are both strong and rather confused:
According to his fatwa ( he wants to stone them, even gay qatari Royals (, others point to misunderstandings caused by MEMRI mistranslations... (

Anyway, if the ECFR ever does this gay fatwa, i guess the council would find a consensus that, No, you dont have to stone your gay neighbour right now, and then congratulate themselves for being so liberal and progressive...


Anonymous said...

Oh, speaking of al-Qaradawis coronation... there is an excellent portrait of the sheikh in a recent article. I found it quite amusing :-)

Ana Belén Soage, MERIA 2008/1

"He often draws attention to his own role: While at the Azhari secondary school, he was elected student leader, and his was an exceptional leadership in that it was “both loved by the students and respected by the shaykhs,” and was able “to promote the national, Arab, and Islamic causes… without getting involved in the customary acts of violence. (...) In fact, the tone of the shaykh’s memoirs betrays arrogance, starting with his statement that his initial reluctance to write them was overcome by arguments that “they would be of great benefit to the readers, in particular the promising new generations of the Muslim community.”42 He characterizes his closest friend during his youth, Muhammad al-Dimirdash, as somebody who started following him around because “he was attracted to those of genuine talent.”43 He relates several disagreements with lecturers who ended up apologizing and expressing their admiration toward him.44 Recounting a debate during his foreign tour as a representative of the Muslim Brothers, he boasts that his words “silenced” his opponents.45 He even criticizes the Brothers for not encouraging him to learn English despite his “extraordinary gift for languages.”

And in an interview in 2004, al-Qaradawi isn`t shy either:

No doubt one's reputation, his personal history and legacy, will have an influence on people's reception, because they do not readily accept the unfamiliar. Many people had read my books or heard my lectures and sermons; Allah be praised, I had traveled to many, many countries and developed a following. In Algeria, with the Islamic revival there, I would give lectures attended by tens of thousands--at one mosque the crowd reached two hundred thousand. It was a multi-storey building surrounded by a plaza, which filled up, along with all the roads leading to it, blocking traffic.

I remember one time in Malaysia, I was meeting with members of the faculty at the Islamic University there, and after the meeting they said to me, "We would like to ask you a question, and please answer with complete frankness." I said, "Please do." They asked, "You are a world traveler; we never attend a conference without seeing you there, there is no panel that you do not participate in, trips and travels and the like, and meeting with people, and television programs. All of that, and we who are dedicated only to academic work cannot produce a half, or a quarter, or even a tenth of your output. How do you manage between this and that"? I answered, "First of all, it is a blessing from Allah, may He be exalted, and success is from Him. Then, it comes at the expense of free time for rest and relaxation. I hardly ever take a vacation, because even in the summer I sit and write.

One time a colleague, Dr. Ezz El-Din Ibrahim, saw me while I was on a trip from Cairo to London--he was on the same plane, and I was absorbed in writing. About an hour after the plane took off, he got up and came over and asked, "What are you writing?" I told him, "Scholarship, my friend." He replied, "Scholarship without any references?" I said, "Yes, it's all stored in my memory. I can pull up the citation later from such-and-such a page of such-and-such a book."
Interview with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. TBS, 17 October, 2004 in Doha, Qatar