Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-02-10 21:53

“The aim is to expose the crimes the Zionists have committed. Debating with logic and evidence and using their media and appearing on their television channels will be effective and allow us to reach a wider audience. At the same time it will show the Zionists that we are willing to talk to them on their own ground,” he said.
Last year another scholar, Dr. Ali Badahdah, head of a solidarity society with Palestine entitled "We Are All With You,” became the first Saudi to be invited to appear on Israeli TV. He was asked to present an Arab view of the conflict with Israel. "We Are All With You” was launched in 2009 with the aim of breaking the Gaza siege. Badahdah declined the invitation.
There has been strong opposition to Al-Awaji’s offer. Other Saudi Islamic scholars fear that it will inevitably be seen as a step toward normalizing relations with Israel. "What Al-Awaji has proposed is a great mistake,” said Dr. Mohammad Al-Nujaimi, a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy and professor of comparative Fiqh at the High Institute for Judicial Studies at Imam Muhammad bin Saud University in Riyadh. He said Al-Awaji’s call goes against all the fatwas the Ulama have issued that normalization with Israel in all its forms -- politically, economically, socially and in terms of media -- “is not permissible at all."
Al-Nujaimi said there could be no normalization of relations with Israel which, he said, had for many years broken all international agreements and sabotaged every peace initiative. He said that nothing will work with it except Jihad, including boycotting all of its media networks and cultural activities.
As to Al-Awaji's claim that appearing on Israeli television was a psychological weapon against the Israelis, Al-Nujaimi said that much more would be lost than gained in doing so. Should Al-Awaji appear on one of the Israeli channels, Al-Nujaimi said, the Israelis would ask the questions they want “and the Zionist presenter will manipulate the debate.” Even if Al-Awaji manages to get across his views, the effect would be limited and “controlled by the presenter and the editor," he said.
In contrast, Al-Nujaimi commended Badahdah's decision not to participate or appear on any Israeli channel, adding that although he has a great deal of respect for Al-Awaji, he is not specialized in Shariah and might not be able to reply to all questions.
Despite his willingness to appear on Israeli television, Al-Awaji told Arab News that he is impressed and delighted at the negative response. He said that it drove home the fact that the Arab and Muslim worlds “are not and never will be ready to have relationships with the Zionist body, and that this ‘foreign body’ among us is not accepted, especially following its barbaric attacks on Gaza.” Nevertheless, he still thinks it is a shrewd move to address the Israelis in their own living rooms. However, if taking part is interpreted as normalizing relations with Israel then he would not do so.

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