Dr. Jamal Badawi

Dr. Jamal Badawi


* Longtime Muslim lecturer and professor
* Member and leader of numerous Islamic organizations
* Longtime senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Canada
* Founding incorporator of the Muslim American Society
* Defender of Islamic supremacy & violent jihad

Early Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood & Muslim Students Association

Born in Egypt on November 10, 1939, Jamal Badawi earned a bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo, whoe campus was a hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood activity at that time. According to a 2008 report by the Hudson Institute: “Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Islamic extremists who studied or taught at Ain Shams during that time period include Mohammed Akef, current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood; Shaykh Ahmed Yassin, the late Hamas leader; and Shaykh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, then head of Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood.”

Badawi moved to the United States in 1963 and attended Indiana University (IU), where he earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees in Management. He also joined IU’s chapter of the Muslim Students Asociation.

University Professor

After teaching Management at the University of Maine, Badawi in 1970 began a 35-year stint as a professor in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada).

Badawi was also the founder and director of the Halifax-based Islamic Information Foundation, a non-profit group that, according to its self-description, strives to promote a better understanding of Islam by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Leadership Roles with Muslim Organizations

In 1988, Badawi became a member of the Islamic Society of North America‘s (ISNA) board of advisors.

From 1991 to 1993, he served on the board of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).

In 1992, he was a founding incorporator of the Muslim American Society.

In 1992 as well, he was listed on the first page of a telephone directory of Muslim Brotherhood members.

According to the Senate of Canada, in the early 2000s Badawi was “a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood operating in Canada.”

Defender of Islamic Supremacy & Violent Jihad

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “Badawi’s comments over the years show he views Islam as superior to democracy and that he defends violent jihad, including suicide bombings, as a form of martyrdom.”

At a 1999 Muslim student conference at the University of Maryland, for instance, Badawi declared that Palestinian “resistance” against Israel in the form of suicide bombings was actually noble and heroic. “So when an act of heroism like that is required to save others it is self-sacrifice,” he said, “you cannot really call it suicide. What Islam condemns is suicide in the negative sense. That’s my understanding.” Palestinian civilian attacks on Israeli soldiers, he added, were akin to the French resistance against the Nazis during World War II. “But what makes me really surprised,” Badawi continued, “is the intimidation in the media and by politicians that you people, not Arabs, not Muslims even, who know of this hypocrisy are not speaking up, for fear of being branded as, oh, supporters of terrorism. This is childish. This is childish. This, we should not support terrorism by victimizing the innocent people, but we should support freedom fighters anywhere who have been wronged.”

In June 2006, Badawi led an Islamonline.net dialogue session titled “Martyrdom in Islam: Let’s Discuss it,” wherein he justified Muslim suicide bombings as a legitimate tactic of jihad. He likened suicide bombers who fought against what he portrayed as Israeli oppression, to World War II-era “freedom fighters” who combatted the Nazis, or to Japanese kamikazes who tried to kill Americans.

In February 2009 at the Chebucto Mosque in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Badawi delivered a speech titled “Understanding Jihad and Martyrdom,” wherein he characterized Gaza-based jihadists who died while fighting Israel as blessed “martyrs.” He also accused moderate Muslims of “excess” if they dared to criticize such “martyrs,” or to call for Palestinian cooperation with the Israelis. “One of those form[s] of excesses is that noble mujahideen, those who strive in the path of Allah, who are really worthy of the term Shuhadaa – martyrs – have been attacked or accused [of being terrorists], not only by their enemies, but by those who are amongst the people who are included in the broader description of the Ummah,” he said. “They [moderate Muslims] made this accusation, but they did not even stop at accusations, they did cooperate with the enemies of humanity, to kill their own brothers and sisters,” he added, accusing them of “sub-contracting, on behalf of the usurpers of Muslims’ land, right, and heritage.”

In the same February 2009 speech in Halifax, Badawi condemned Western media outlets that portrayed Ilamic “martyrs” as terrorists. “In the Western world,” he said, “… we find that the media, which is both misled and misleading, and those who are behind that media, they continued also to falsify and distort this noble concept of martyrdom, equating it with what they call terrorism, fanaticism, violence, and so on.” Further, Badawi complained that whereas Western media outlets typically tended to praise anyone who “prefers death in defense of some value, of some cause,” they would invariably do an about-face “when that choice is that of a Muslim, and he chooses death rather than weakness, rather than accepting aggression and selling their rights.”

In a March 2010 speech, Badawi spoke in defense of violent jihad: “[T]here is one form of combative jihad that is permissible only for self-defense against unprovoked aggression or to resist severe oppression, such as people being driven from their homes like the Palestinians and dispossessed.”

Badawi’s Fatwa Regarding a Husband’s Physical Punishment of His Wife

In 2004 Badawi issued a fatwa for Islamonline.net, defining, according to his understanding of “Islamic teaching,” the rules a husband should follow in deciding whether or not to use physical measures to punish his wife and thereby persuade her to discontinue her undesirable behavior. Wrote Badawi:

“If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, the husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem persists, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one. Even here, that maximum measure is limited by the following:

“a. It must be seen as a rare exception to the repeated exhortation of mutual respect, kindness and good treatment. Based on the Qur’an and Hadith, this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband’s reasonable requests on a consistent basis (nushuz). Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first.

“b. As defined by Hadith, it is not permissible to strike anyone’s face, cause any bodily harm or even be harsh. What the Hadith qualifies as ‘dharban ghayra mubarrih,’ or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of siwak! They further qualified permissible ‘striking’ as that which leaves no mark on the body. It is interesting that this latter fourteen-centuries-old qualifier is the criterion used in contemporary American law to separate a light and harmless tap or strike from ‘abuse’ in the legal sense. This makes it clear that even this extreme, last resort, and ‘lesser of the two evils’ measure that may save a marriage does not meet the definitions of ‘physical abuse,’ ‘family violence,’ or ‘wife battering’ in the 20th century law in liberal democracies, where such extremes are so commonplace that they are seen as national concerns.”

“c. The permissibility of such symbolic expression of the seriousness of continued refraction does not imply its desirability. In several hadiths, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) discouraged this measure. Here are some of his sayings in this regard: ‘Do not beat the female servants of Allah … Some (women) visited my family complaining about their husbands (beating them). These (husbands) are not the best of you.’ (Sunan Abu Dawud) In another hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: ‘How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?’

“d. True following of the Sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who never resorted to that measure, regardless of the circumstances.

“e. Islamic teachings are universal in nature. They respond to the needs and circumstances of diverse times, cultures and circumstances. Some measures may work in some cases and cultures or with certain persons but may not be effective in others. By definition, a ‘permissible’ act is neither required, encouraged or forbidden. In fact it may be to spell out the extent of permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted or unqualified, or ignoring it all together. In the absence of strict qualifiers, persons may interpret the matter in their own way, which can lead to excesses and real abuse.

“f. Any excess, cruelty, family violence, or abuse committed by any ‘Muslim’ can never be traced, honestly, to any revelatory text (Qur’an or Hadith). Such excesses and violations are to be blamed on the person(s) himself, as it shows that they are paying lip service to Islamic teachings and injunctions and failing to follow the true Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).”

Advocating Islamic Jihad Against U.S. Troops in Iraq

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 which was occupying that country.

Asserting That Islamic Law Supersedes Democracy & the U.S. Constitution

Doubtful as to whether Islam and democracy could ever be truly compatible with one another, Badawi in 2004 wrote that “[t]he Qur’an and Prophetic tradition are the ultimate constitution” because Islam was given to humanity by God. “It’s not something that anyone can update or change or supersede in any way,” he elaborated. “It is free from error or else, of course, there wouldn’t be any belief in God. On the other hand, other systems, whether they are democracy, socialism, or otherwise, are man-made ideas or ideologies.”

During a 2006 Muslim American Society conference in Los Angeles, Badawi stated that democracy could not offer the world what Islam could, because Islam is “not only for the problems of any particular society, America or otherwise, but the solution for the world.” “[W]e believe that Islam is the only solution not only to the problems of America but to the malaise of the world at large,” he expanded.

Retirement from Teaching at St. Mary’s

In 2005, Badawi retired from his teaching post at St. Mary’s University.

Doubtful Whether Muslims Perpetrated 9/11 & Other Terror Attacks

In a June 24, 2005 interview with the Saudi Gazette, Badawi said that “9/11 was un-Islamic” and “I strongly condemn the September 11 attacks … whoever did it,” adding that “[i]t is not confirmed yet who is actually behind the attacks.” In the same interview, Badawi also discussed the difficulty of reaching “agreement on how terrorism should be defined.” He then proceeded to state that the detonation of cars that recently had killed civilians in Iraqi marketplaces was certainly one form of terrorism, but he suggested that American troops — and not Muslims — might have been responsible for those incidents:

“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.”

Danish Cartoon Depictions of Muhammad Promote “Hate” & Go “Beyond” Free Speech Rights

In 2006, Badawi condemned the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten‘s September 2005 decision to publish a series of editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light — a decision that sparked a wave of violent riots by Muslims across the world. In Badawi’s calculus, the publication of those cartoons exceeded the rightful limits of free speech. “‘When you depict a great prophet … of one-fifth of humankind as a terrorist, that goes beyond satire, that goes beyond insults, that goes beyond offence,” Badawi said. “This is nothing but a hate message. You can’t hide behind freedom of expression, freedom of the press or academic freedom to preach hate against groups of people.”

Close Ties to Yousef Al-Qaradawi

A noteworthy friend and mentor to Badawi was the late Islamic scholar Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who was listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the U.S. government beginning in 1999.

Badawi has served as a board of trustees member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, and as a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research — both groups that were organized and headed by Qaradawi.

In July 2007, Badawi traveled to Qatar, where he was a featured guest speaker at a conference honoring Qaradawi.

Unindicted Co-Conspirator with Holy Land Foundation

In the summer 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), 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.

Muslim Brotherhood Ally

Two separate Muslim Brotherhood documents — both evidenced in the Holy Land trial — identified Badawi as a Brotherhood ally. According to the Canadian-French website Point de Bascule, one of the documents was a memorandum that “encourages Muslim Brotherhood supporters to destroy the Western civilization from within” and named Badawi as “a leader of the North American Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure.”

Professor Emeritus

By 2011, Badawi had achieved the status of Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College.

Speaker at ISNA Conference

During the weekend of May 11-12, 2012, Badawi, a member-at-large on ISNA’s governing board, spoke during three separate sessions at ISNA’s East Regional Conference in Tampa, Florida. One of the sessions was titled, “Understanding Shari’ah: Sacred Principles in Striving for the Human Development.”

Board Member of Council on American-Islamic Relations – Canada

Until 2013, Badawi served as a board member of the Canada branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Claiming That Islam Is a Religion of Peace

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 often quoted by those who say Islam is a religion of violence, is Sura 9:5, 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.”

Additional Information on Badawi

  • Badawi was one of the best-known Muslim speakers in the Western world for several decades.
  • Badawi has authored or co-authored a number of books on Islam and Muslim-Christian issues. His published works include such titles as: Selected Prayers; Leadership: An Islamic Perspective; Gender Equity in Islam; Muhammad in the Bible; The Status of Woman in Islam; Polygamy in Islamic Law; The Earth and Humanity; Islam: A Brief Look; The Muslim Woman’s Dress; Woman Under the Shade of Islam; 1,000 Question on Islam; The Sunnah and Islamic Ethics; and The Muslim Woman’s and Muslim Man’s Dress: According to the Quran and Sunnah.
  • Badawi researched, designed, and presented a 352-segment television series on Islam, which was broadcast on many stations across the globe.
  • Badawi has served variously as: a member of the Consultative Council of North America; a member of the Juristic Council of North America; and an executive committee member of the Fiqh Council of America, a subordinate group to ISNA composed of Muslim scholars who issue religious edicts and interpret Islamic law.
  • Badawi once served as the Nova Scotia representative for Human Concerns International, a non-profit relief organization.
  • Badawi has been an Imam in the Islam Association of the Maritime Provinces, and in the Halifax Mosque.

Additional Resources:

Jamal Badawi: Enduring Link to ISNA’s Radical Past
By IPT News
May 8, 2012

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