Last weekend, the Radisson Hotel in Aurora, CO hosted an event called "Take a Stand Against Hunger in the Horn of Africa." The event was sponsored by the Texas-based Amoud Foundation, and featured as guest speakers Islamic scholar Yasir Qadhi and Islamic motivational speaker Abdulraouf Alkhawaldeh.
Many present at the event, however, may have come away feeling confused as the event had very little to do with combatting hunger in the Horn of Africa at all. Instead, the event felt much more like a religious gathering with the guest speakers proselytizing – rather hardline and extreme – ideas to the audience.
The main guest of the evening, Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, for example, began his speech with a tirade against atheists:
"Why is there so much evil, pain, suffering and calamities, if Allah is [gracious] then how can this be happening? And this question is being amplified by agnostics and atheists. Unfortunately, they're becoming more and more common up to 30% don't believe in a religion. And it is becoming mainstream to reject religion. Bill Maher, Sam Harris, pseudo-intellectuals, Dawkins, they all hammer in the same point."
Yasir Qadhi is an internationally-renowned Islamic scholar and regularly speaks at mosques and charity events all over the country. But a further look into Qadhi's background reveals a much more extreme and intolerant character whose rant against atheists and agnostics, compared to other views he holds, actually might seem quite moderate.
Qadhi has been preaching his intolerant and hardline views since as early as 2001, where in one particularly anti-Semitic speech at the University of Madinah, he said of Jews: "As for 80 to 90 percent of the Jews in our times, they are Ashkenazis, i.e. Khazars, i.e. Russians. ... Look at them — white, crooked nose, blonde hairs... These are not a Semitic people." Despite having recanted his views years later, he remains a vocal supporter of David Irving, the prominent holocaust denier who wrote "The Hoax of the Holocaust".
In another lecture, Qadhi had the following to say of homosexuality:
"...this is a part of our religion to stone the adulterer and to chop the head off of the sorcerer and so many other things, and to kill, by the way, the homosexual – this is also our religion. The fiqh rulings say that the homosexual be killed, OK? ... This is all a part of our religion. This doesn't mean we go and do this in America... but I'm saying if we had an Islamic state we would do this."
Qadhi's religious bigotry extends beyond just homophobia and antisemitism. In the past, he has loudly expressed his disdain for Christians and even for the whole system of democracy. What's more, Qadhi is very open on social media about his support and affiliations with known members of terrorist groups including the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Hamas. Based on Qadhi's long history of extremism and his support for extremist groups, two charities in the UK – Muslim Aid and the Read Foundation – are currently being investigated by the UK's Charity Commission for hosting him.
Given Qadhi's radical track record, it should come as no surprise why the Amoud Foundation would choose him to be the special guest of the evening. A deeper look into the Amoud Foundation also reveals a nefarious history of financially supporting Islamist extremism around the world. In 2016, the Amoud Foundation gave thousands of dollars to the Texas-based charity, Baitulmaal, which – in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it sends to affiliate organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkish regime – works closely with organizations which pay stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists.
Given the respective track records of Qadhi and the Amoud Foundation supporting extremism and the fact that the event had virtually nothing to do with hunger in the horn of Africa, it is perfectly reasonable for anybody – especially those attendees who are truly interested in solving the problem of hunger in Africa – to be skeptical of an event like the one hosted by the Radisson and where their hard-earned money is really going.