Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Qaradawi urges GCC states to revise sponsorship rules

"Islahonline" islahonline@gmail.com

Qaradawi urges GCC states to revise sponsorship rules
Posted at: 3/14/2008 7:43:22 - Source:: The Peninsula

Doha: Noted Islamic cleric Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi said yesterday the sponsorship system in the GCC needed to be reviewed.

Calling on the Gulf countries to review the sponsorship rules, he said even university curricula are revised every year.

Al Qaradawi was answering questions after addressing an international conference on human trafficking which was organized by Qatar's National Office for Combating Human Trafficking in cooperation with Qatar University.

The two-day conference, which was attended by a large number of regional and international experts and representatives from various United Nations agencies, ended at Al Sharq Village and Spa yesterday.

Al Qaradawi said Islam considered human trafficking as the biggest sin even if it was done for no financial or other material gains. The exploitation and mistreatment of workers by their employers was equally sinful.

Islam permitted voluntary contracts, he said. The contracts signed between workers and their employers within the sponsorship system are commercial in nature and the latter largely tend to neglect the rights of the former, which is against the spirit of Islam.

He also denounced employers who promised higher wages to workers but paid less at the end of a month. "Such so-called contractual obligations have nothing to do with the Islamic Shariah," said the scholar.

Earlier, speaking at the conference, he said Islam not only talks of justice but also of mercy with justice and calls on its followers to protect the weak, women and children even if they are not Muslims.

Mistreating and exploiting domestic workers is the greatest sin in the eyes of Islam, he said. Compassion, justice and mercy are the essence of Islam.

Replying to a question earlier, he criticized the West and referring to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, said so many human beings were ill-treated. He also mentioned Afghanistan in this context.

When a participant said the Democratic presidential hopeful in the US, Hillary Clinton, was trying to portray Islam as a religion which approved slavery, Al Qaradawi said Roots, the TV serial and novel about African-Americans, showed how innocent people from Africa were kidnapped, chained and shipped to America.

It shows how blacks were treated by the Americans. It is only recently that African-Americans have begun to regain their rights. A good example is the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, he said. In response to a question about forced marriage, he said Islam is against this practice.

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