Islamic Preacher: Europeans Are Immoral, Unclean, and Cowardly

The Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan recently published an article [1] by its columnist Sheikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi, who is a government-appointed preacher at a Kuwaiti mosque and in the past had a television show called “An Hour of Sincerity” on Kuwaiti Al-Rai TV. In the article, titled “The Qualities of the European,” Al-‘Awadhi states that Europeans are disciplined and law-abiding only because they fear punishment; that they are unclean, since they “only wash when absolutely necessary”; and that they are selfish, cowardly and miserly. It should be noted that in August 2006, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments suspended Al-‘Awadhi from his post as preacher for three months, after he gave a Friday sermon inciting to jihad and calling for harming Jews. [2]

Reformist Kuwaiti writer Ahmad Al-Sarraf responded to Al-‘Awadhi’s article with one of his own, in which he condemned and refuted Al-‘Awadhi’s statements about Europeans. [3]

Following are excerpts from the two articles:

The Europeans’ “Bad Qualities Are Innumberable!”

Al-‘Awadhi’s article, titled “The Qualities of the European,” appeared in his regular “A Word of Sincerity” column in Al-Watan. In it, he wrote:

“In a previous piece, called ‘The Arab Qualities,’ I mentioned some of the bad qualities which distinguish many Arabs, and which Islam calls on us to reject. Some [people], who are dazzled by Western civilization, thought that the examples [I presented in the article] were intended as a comprehensive comparison between the Arabs and the West. But the truth is that I mentioned only a few [Arab] qualities, comparing them with Western characteristics.

“However, as for the West and its characteristics, especially the Europeans – their bad qualities are innumerable! This article does not mean to [discuss] all the European qualities, [but] only some of them – in particular those having to do with their relations with one another.

“Europeans Today Are Disciplined, Law-Abiding, and Punctual… Because They Are Afraid of Penalties”

“As for the Europeans’ relations with the Creator, animals are better than they are… for they do not permit what is permissible, and do not forbid what is forbidden. Moreover, whenever they find a way to please the Devil, they pursue it. I do not believe that Satan [ever] imagined that his temptation of humanity would [yield] such an extent of heresy as well as moral depravity and decay.

“Most Europeans today are disciplined, law-abiding, and punctual. But they behave in this manner not because they believe in [these virtues], but because they are afraid of penalties and fines. Just imagine, dear reader, a civilized city like London, New York, Paris or Frankfurt with the electricity cut off for even one day. What do you think the European man, in his elegant suit, and the European woman, with her elegant figure, would do?

“[Imagine] just one day without electricity, during which the surveillance cameras and the alarm systems fail. In this situation, these civilized people would turn into wild animals that would devour everything!!

“Yes, that is the truth about the West. It is not restrained by religion, values or virtue, but only by fear of punishment and fines. Furthermore, without surveillance, even the police would take part in the thievery.”

“Had Allah Not Given [the Europeans] a Cold Climate, Their Stench Would Have… Driven Away the Birds and Withered the Vegetation”

“Europeans [also] usually smell bad, because they do not wash until it is absolutely necessary. They do not clean themselves properly after urinating, nor do they wipe the filth off [themselves]. Whoever mingles with them notices this characteristic. If Allah had not given them a cold climate, the stench would have been overwhelming, driving away the birds and withering the vegetation. For real cleanliness means nothing to them.

“Other bad qualities which characterize the Europeans like no others are cowardice and stinginess. You encounter a European of impressive appearance, and you believe him to be brave and strong. But as soon as you put him to the test, you find him to be a craven coward. On many occasions, I have seen them make a big racket, like barking dogs, but once confronted, they run away like rats…

“Usually, they do not aid those who are wronged or help those in distress, except seldom. Many a time have I seen people being beaten and old people lying injured on the ground, with no one lifting a finger to help them. They pay no attention to others and think only of themselves.”

“The European is Miserly Even Towards His Own Wife and Children”

“As for stinginess, the Europeans are the very model of it. The European is miserly even towards his own wife and children. He may dine with his wife in a restaurant, and then each of them pays their own bill!! And when his son or daughter turns 18, he asks them to pay rent for living under his roof!

“Just as generosity and courage are man’s finest qualities, so are stinginess and cowardice his worst, and the latter are especially characteristic of the European. He lives for his material interests only, and does not recognize social ties. Father and mother usually mean nothing to him, and even his children – his only interest in them is materialistic.

“Most of the Europeans today are racist, especially the Germans and the French. They despise one another, and [also] despise others. They believe that they deserve a good life, while others have only the right to serve them. Those compelled to live among them experience this racism. Given an opportunity to crush the others, [the Europeans] would grab it without hesitation. In fact, their history [provides] proof of this evil quality.

“I do not write this article out of hate or resentment, though, by Allah, I do hate the infidels among them. I have written this article in fairness, so that those who are impressed with the West will not be deluded and will not think that I am dazzled by the Europeans. For, as I have said, their bad qualities are innumerable. By Allah, even one Muslim who worships Allah is better than all the infidels in the world, even if their appearance impresses some people.”

Reformist Al-Sarraf: Looking At the Europeans’ Achievements, “We Are Shocked – Not Only by the Extent of Their Progress, But Also By the Extent of Our Own Backwardness”

In his rebuttal to Al-‘Awadhi, reformist Kuwaiti writer Ahmad Al-Sarraf wrote: “A simple and quick comparison between the societies in the Gulf and those of Europe reveals enormous differences in education, agriculture and economics, not to mention space exploration, trade, tourism, archeology, hotels, roads, and basic utilities like electricity, water and alternative energy sources. If we examine their scientific institutes, [their] progress in medicine, and the standard of [care in] their hospitals, we will be shocked – not only by the extent of their progress, but also by the extent of our own backwardness, lack of productivity, and scanty participation in human enterprises.

“A quick glance at the moral differences between the two societies will [also] shock us… In Europe, [punctuality] is sacred and the work [ethic] is honored, while dishonesty is rare. In our societies, [on the other hand], the opposite is true.

“[When we consider] their cultural and humanitarian role, and their contribution in all areas to humanity as a whole over the last three centuries or more, we are astonished – not only at how little we have contributed, but [also] at the amazing number of calamities and woes that shameless fools from amongst us have inflicted upon the world, especially upon the West.

“Space does not permit [me] to enumerate the reasons for [the difference between the two societies]. However, there is no better proof of the greatness of Western culture, and of its values and ethics, than [the testimony] of the Saudi preacher ‘Aaidh Al-Qarni, whose affiliation with a strict Islamic school did not prevent him from writing [the following words] during his first visit to Europe last March. [He wrote:] ‘I am [currently] in Paris for medical treatment. I have been consulting doctors, visiting libraries, observing people, and looking at the way they behave towards each other. I have found polite and friendly people of refined culture, good qualities, and fine sensibilities. I have also found punctuality and a well-ordered way of life. [As for] us Arabs, Ibn Khaldun has preceded me in describing us as wild and uncouth. Some of my fellow clerics are coarse of character and have a desert mentality. We need an institution to train us in good manners, and another to produce high officials who are gentle, compassionate and humble… [and who] treat people decently.’ This is what Saudi preacher Al-Qarni thinks of the Europeans.”

“Kuwaiti preacher Nabil Al-‘Awadhi, who writes for Al-Watan and belongs to the very same religious school as Al-Qarni, has a completely different view of [the Europeans]… [He thinks that] ‘their bad qualities are innumerable.’ His lengthy article contains much censure, invective and abuse, and I have quoted from [it] only in order to expose… the attitude towards others held by some of us – especially towards those who are most advanced, cultured and respectful [of others] and who have contributed the most to other nations.

“I should note that I do not read Nabil Al-‘Awadhi’s column, but that someone who read it told me that he had translated it and intends to distribute it to the European embassies in Kuwait… so that, if [Al-‘Awadhi] ever applies for a visa to receive medical treatment in one of their countries, they can confront him with what he wrote.”


[1] Al-Watan (Kuwait), August 17, 2008, http://www.alwatan.com.kw/Writer%20Article%20Viewer/tabid/164/Default.aspx?article_id=439614&AuthorID=1087.

[2] Al-Qabas (Kuwait), August 6, 2006; Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments website, http://islam.gov.kw/site/news/details.php?data_id=3865.

[3] Al-Qabas (Kuwait), August 25, 2008, http://www.alqabas.com.kw/Article.aspx?id=424482&date=14092008.

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Blaming Others (Farooq Sulehria)

The Amnesty International report on human rights for the year 2007 is out. The Muslim world constitutes, as usual, bleakest chapter. Every single country across the Muslim world has been pointed out by the Amnesty International either for executions and torture or discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities. Punishments never handed down even during the Stone Age, have been awarded in 21st century Muslim world. In one case, two Saudi nationals were awarded 7,000 lashes. Yes, 7,000. And executions? Well, 335 in Iran, 158 in Saudi Arabia and 135 in Pakistan. Violation of human rights, it seems, is the only thing that unites the otherwise divided Muslim world.

The report is no exception. The Muslim world cuts a sorry figure every time a global watchdog releases its findings. Freedom of expression here remains curtailed, Reporters Sans Frontieres annually reports. Regarding freedom of expression, there is a joke often told in Arab world. At a meeting, a US journalist says: “We have complete freedom of expression in the US. We can criticise the US president as much as we like.” The Arab journalist replies. “We also have complete freedom of expression in Arab world. We can also criticise the US president as much as we like.”

Similarly, it is either Bangladesh or Pakistan or Nigeria which is on top of Transparency International’s corruption indexes. However, when Nobel laureates gather in Stockholm every December, Muslim scientists and writers are conspicuous by their absence. In case, as Naguib Mahfouz is crowned, he is stabbed and rendered paralysed. The irony, or tragedy, is that his attacker had not even read his excellent books. Or we disown Dr Abdul Salam just because he belonged to the Ahmadiya community. Salam’s case deserves special mention since it underlines the absurdity that characterises this part of the world.

When all else fails, “Jews” and “Christian” West are there to lay the blame for all our ills. Conspiracy theories instead of scientific, rational thought holds sway across much of the Muslim world. And every time a rights abuse is highlighted in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, a typical Muslim answer is: Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Chechnya. True, imperialism and Zionism have a hand in our predicament. However, there are many wounds one can only describe as self-inflicted.

Take, for instance, the Iran-Iraq war, one of the last century’s bloodiest conflicts. There is no denying the fact that the United States backed the Saddam regime. But it was the Arab sheikhdoms, panicked at the Iranian revolution, that stoked the flames of war. And, ironically, now in the post-Saddam era when the “Christian” West has written off Iraq’s Saddam-era debt worth $66 billion, Iraq’s Arab brothers refuse to write off that country’s $67 billion loans.

Similarly, last century’s bloodiest Muslim genocide was not carried out by Serbs, Israelis, Americans, Europeans or Hindus. It was Pakistan’s military that refused to respect a democratic verdict and plunged East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, into an ocean of blood. Millions were killed, maimed, raped and rendered homeless. Luckily, Pakistan has a “Hindu” neighbour. “Hindus are born enemies of Islam’. Hence, Pakistani children are now taught that a Bengali traitor (revered by Bengalis as founder of Bangladesh), in connivance with our “Hindu” neighbour, dismembered Pakistan. Ironically, of all her South Asian neighbours, Pakistan enjoys most cordial relations with the world’s only Hindu state, Nepal. The other big genocide was perpetrated by Indonesia. The target was: its own citizens who were members of the Communist Party.

Figures are not available but Israel perhaps cannot match Iran in executing Arabs. Iran’s confessional regime is a champion of the Arab cause in Occupied Territories but Arabs of its Khuzestan province are regularly sent to the gallows. Seizing the opportunity, one may also point out how only recently Afghan refugees were driven out of Iran as if Afghan refugees were not as Muslim as Palestinians. And, by the way in the fallen “Emirate of Afghanistan” itself, Hazaras were slaughtered by the Taliban in their thousands almost a decade ago – mainly because Hazaras are Shia. In Iraq, more people have been killed in Shia-Sunni clashes than in resisting the US occupation. Shia-Sunni clashes in Pakistan have claimed more lives than those lost in its wars against India. Ironically, this only “nuclear power” of the Muslim world is not being occupied on its eastern front by its “Hindu” neighbour but is losing territory on its western front to its own citizens.

One can mention from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the recent Hamas-Fatah infighting (a shameful tribute to Israel on its 60th anniversary). The list is long. Indeed, unending. However, the solution to all our problems is always simple: return to an imagined past which, mercifully for the people of the seventh century, never existed. Every time, a scientist in the West is ready with an invention, our readymade answer is: we knew about it 1,400 years ago what the West has found only now. We kill Theo van Gogh when confronted with a film. We burn down our own cities in response to a blasphemous and racist caricature. Still, we refuse to understand that our answer to every “provocation” is either a fatwa or mindless violence – perhaps because creativity is anathema to us. Not because we lack fertile minds, but because we lack liberation and freedom — liberation from self-imposed mental, moral, and cultural censors. And freedom to think and express. Time to heed the great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, who said:

Five thousand years

Growing beards

In our caves.

Our currency is unknown,

Our eyes are a haven for flies.

Friends,

Smash the doors,

Wash your brains,

Wash your clothes.

Friends,

Read a book,

Write a book,

Grow words, pomegranates and grapes,

Sail to the country of fog and snow.

Nobody knows you exist in caves.

People take you for a breed of mongrels.

This great article appeared in the The News International:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=118852