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Building Churches Allowed: Qaradawi

By Mohammad Sabrah, IOL Correspondent

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1209357797171&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

Sheikh Qaradawi noted that scholars have been divided on the issues
of allowing churches in Muslim countries and Muslims participating in
the construction. He noted that of the four main schools of Islamic
thought only Imam Abu Hanifa approves this."

=====

DOHA — Prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi approves building
churches for Christian citizens of or residents in Muslim countries
to meet their needs just as Muslims are being allowed to build
mosques in the West.

"There is nothing wrong in building churches for Christian citizens
if there is such a need because their numbers have multiplied or
because they lack a place to worship as long as it is authorized by
the ruler," Qaradawi said.

"This also applies to non-Muslims who came to a Muslim country for
work or residence and have grown in numbers and need a church to
worship."

The fatwa came in response to a question regarding the building of
the first-ever church in the Gulf emirate of Qatar.

The land was given by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim
Scholars (IUMS), said the presence of a Christian minority, whether
it was of a local community or of expatriates, justifies this.

"It is completely permissible that they should be allowed to have
churches."

Catholics comprise the majority of Qatar's estimated 70,000 Christian
expatriates.

The Gulf region has in recent years set out an example of religious
tolerance as several countries have been allocating pieces of land to
Christian minorities to build their own churches.

Bahrain, who has about 1,000 Christian citizens including a woman
member of an appointed consultative council, hosts the first church
of the Gulf region, founded in 1906 by American Anglican missionaries.

Other Gulf states, like Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates,
have churches that cater to hundreds of thousands of expats and, in
some cases, tiny local communities.

Equal Treatment

Sheikh Qaradawi, the IUMS president, also approved for Muslims to
participate in building churches.

"If we allow them (Christians) to build churches in Muslim countries,
then participation in the construction is also approved though many
scholars would not like Muslims to do that."

Sheikh Qaradawi noted that scholars have been divided on the issues
of allowing churches in Muslim countries and Muslims participating in
the construction.

He noted that of the four main schools of Islamic thought only Imam
Abu Hanifa approves this.

Qaradawi based his view, which goes in line with Abu Hanifa's, on the
Muslim principle of equal treatment.

"Just like they allow Muslims in their countries to build mosques for
prayers." 

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