A highly sought-after lecturer, Dr. Jamal Badawi has been one of the best-known Muslim speakers in the West for more than two decades.
Born and raised in Egypt, Badawi received his bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo. He then moved to the U.S. and attended Indiana University, where he earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees in Business Administration.
After teaching a course on Islam at Stanford University, Badawi went on to become a professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada), in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management.
Badawi is the Director of the Halifax-based Islamic Information Foundation, a non-profit that, according to its self-description, strives to promote a better understanding of Islam by both Muslims and non-Muslims.
In addition, Badawi is a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, the Consultative Council of North America, and the Juristic Council of North America. He is also a Board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In 2004 Badawi issued a fatwa for Islamonline, outlining six different conditions in which a wife may properly be beaten according to his understanding of “Islamic teaching,” because, he stated, “there are cases … in which a wife persists in bad habits.”
Badawi played a part in a November 2004 fatwa by the International Union of Muslim Scholars decreeing that it was a religious “duty” for all able-bodied Muslims inside and outside Iraq to wage jihad against the American military.
In an interview with the Saudi Gazette on June 24, 2005, Badawi said: “9/11 was un-Islamic,” and “I strongly condemn the September 11 attacks … whoever did it,” adding, “It is not confirmed yet who is actually behind the attacks.” In the Saudi Gazette story, Badawi also discussed the difficulty of reaching “agreement on how terrorism should be defined.” He went on to state that the detonation of cars that killed civilians in Iraqi marketplaces was certainly one form of terrorism, but he suggested that American troops might be responsible for those attacks:
“This has to be investigated as to who is actually behind this … There have been allegations that I cannot confirm that people going to the market to buy vegetables are stopped in the name of inspecting their cars by [American] forces, their hands are tied and they are blindfolded. There have been cases and I want a clarification from American officials to these allegations. After inspecting their cars they are allowed to go and when the car reaches [the] checkpoint it explodes and they call them suicide bombers, perhaps the occupants of the car were not even aware that they are carrying a bomb in their car. Such incidents should be thoroughly probed.”
In an IslamOnline Internet forum in June 2006, Badawi justified Muslim suicide bombings as a legitimate tactic of jihad.
Badawi is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research — both groups organized and headed by Qaradawi. In July 2007 Badawi traveled to Qatar, where he was a featured guest speaker at a conference honoring Qaradawi.
In the summer 2007 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial (which looked into evidence of HLF’s fundraising on behalf of Hamas), the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s “unindicted co-conspirators” and “joint venturers.” Badawi’s name was on that list.
Claiming that the Prophet Mohammed did not preach violence against people of other faiths, Badawi says “a careful reading of the Qur’an leaves no doubt” that “Islam is a religion of peace and nonviolence.” He asserts that “when people quote just one Qur’anic passage, they pull the meaning out of its historical context and out of the complex system of translation from Arabic to another language.”
One passage [Sura 9:5] often quoted by those who say Islam is a religion of violence, is an exhortation to kill unbelievers wherever one finds them. According to Badawi, however, the passage refers to pagan Arabs of Mohammed’s time. “The verse has nothing to do with Jews and Christians,” he explains. “… It is a common misconception, especially after the tragic events of September 11th, that the attitude of hatred and violence towards non-Muslims is embedded in Islamic sources. … The challenge is that many say that the Qur’an calls Jews and Christians infidels. It’s a term that many incorrectly translate as kafir. But infidel means someone who has no faith. How could Jews and Christians be infidels when the Qur’an is clear that they worship the one God, the God of Abraham?”
In the foregoing assertions, Badawi does not address the Qur’an’s exhortation (Sura 9:29) to “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
For additional information on Badawi, click here.