Tantawi sides with Karimov the butcher of Andijan

Tantawi sides with Karimov the butcher of Andijan

By Abid Mustafa

On May the 27th the Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Tantawi declared his
unequivocal support for Karimov’s brutal suppression of Muslims in Andijan.
Moreover, he blamed Hizb-ut-Tahrir and its call the re-establishment of the
Caliphate for being responsible for the massacre. He said, “Various
terrorist and extremist groups, which cover up their real objectives by
provocative slogans like the revival of the Islamic Caliphate and jihad, are
really furthering anti-human aims… If plans of the extremists are put into
effect, this will drive the Islamic world many centuries back.”

Clearly Tantawi’s statement demonstrates his complete ignorance of the
situation in Uzbekistan and is at odds with testimonies gathered from
journalists, human rights organisation, international observers and
survivors of the massacre in Andijan. All of whom hold Karimov’s tyrannical
regime responsible for the slaughter and not Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Furthermore,
Karimov used the events in Andijan to execute thousands of prisoners
belonging to various Islamic groups. A fact confirmed by relatives of the

Too many, the stench of Karimov’s savagery is enough for them to keep their
distance from him. Even Karimov’s staunchest supporters in the west could
not condone what he did. Yet despite this, Tantawi has chosen to throw his
weight behind Karimov and has labelled the Uzbek Islamists and their call to
re-establish the Caliphate for being anti-human and backward.

Again, Tantawi criticisms are peppered with flaws. Those who yearn for the
Caliphate are not interested in returning to the later days of the Ottoman
Caliphate which was besotted with problems. They only want a return to the
period of the rightly guided Caliphs which formed the basis of the golden
age of Islam – the first 500 years of Islamic rule.

Non-Muslims often look upon this period and the early days of the Ottoman
Caliphate with a mixture of awe and envy.  Carly Fiorina the former CEO of
HP described this period of Islamic rule in the following words. “There was
once a civilisation that was the greatest in the world. Within its dominion
lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic
origins…When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived
on them and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge
from past civilisations, this civilisation kept the knowledge alive and
passed it on to others. While modern Western civilization shares many of
these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from
the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of
Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the

Either Tantawi is suffering from amnesia or he has purposefully forgotten
Islam’s illustrious past. As Tantawi is a devoted proponent of interfaith
dialogue, one can only imagine the type of discussion he has had with
representatives of other faiths.

Tantawi has a notorious history of standing firmly against Islam and Muslims
in preference for preserving western interests. He supported France’s right
to ban the hijjab, made interest on money permissible, condemned Palestinian
resistance groups and retracted a fatwa issued by his colleague Sheikh
Nabawi Mohamed El-Esh which urged Muslim and Arab states to boycott the
pro-American Iraqi Governing Council.

Reformists like Tantawi can be found throughout the Muslim world bestowing
legitimacy to rulers and implementing the plans of the imperialist powers.
They are spineless cowards who dare not to criticise the rulers, but are the
first to spew venom against those who call for a return to the Islamic way
of life. Therefore it is not surprising to find Tantawi avidly endorsing
Karimov’s barbaric treatment of his people which includes the gunning down
of unarmed civilians and boiling alive political opponents.

Government scholars collaborating with the rulers are the main culprits in
prolonging the backwardness of the Muslim ummah (people) and her subjugation
to the imperialist powers.  The quickest way for the Muslim ummah to
eliminate this partnership of corruption and infidelity is to work for the
re-establishment of the Caliphate.

May 29 2005.

Abid Mustafa is a political analyst who specialises in Muslim affairs