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The Sheikh Said: Go Out and Vote

23 4 0
17.11.2019

The Joint List’s enormous achievement in the last election was made possible by a rise in Arab voter turnout, which jumped from 49 percent in the previous election in April to 63 percent in September. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement against the Arab community apparently played a role. Statements like “Arabs are going to the polls in droves” and “the Arabs want to destroy us,” like his effort to pass a law allowing cameras in polling stations, caused Arabs to get out and vote.

But it’s not just ordinary voters who mobilized to raise the turnout rate. Surprisingly, religious leaders in the Arab world also dedicated themselves to this task.

In August, not long before the September 17 election, Sheikh Prof. Ahmed al-Raissouni, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, issued two religious rulings, or fatwas. One permitted Muslims throughout the world to visit Jerusalem – something that had previously been forbidden because it constituted a form of recognition of Israel’s occupation regime. The second urged Arab Israelis not to boycott the election.

These rulings sparked a flood of responses in the Arab world, both because of the ideological revolution they entailed and because of Raissouni’s importance. It appears that a major ideological shake-up is happening among Muslim clerics today.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars is the organization that unites the largest number of Muslim scholars. More than 90,000 Muslim clerics, both Sunni and Shi’ite, belong to it. It was founded in 2004 by Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who served as its head until 2018.

Qaradawi was born in Egypt in 1926 and now lives in Qatar. He’s considered the greatest religious scholar in the Muslim........

© Haaretz