Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi is emerging as an unlikely voice of moderation in Islam

A few years back, Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, the secretary-general of the Italian Muslim Association, imam at the Shafi School of Islamic Jurisprudence, and the co-chair of Islam-Israel Fellowship at the Root and Branch Association, addressed a group of conservative-leaning Jews in Manhattan. After hearing him cite a Koranic passage endorsing Zionism (The Night Journey, 17:104), deriding terror groups for misinterpreting religious texts to advance their “pseudo-Islamic radicalist” agenda, and endorsing a “Jordan is Palestine” solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the invited guests were taken aback. Was the bearded sheikh really a hawkish rabbi? One participant asked Palazzi if he received death threats, to which he shook his head. On the way out, the participant sighed, and said: “If the terrorists don’t want to kill him, he’s probably not that important.”

Today, Palazzi, 43, is emerging as an unlikely voice of moderation in a religion whose leaders are viewed by many as apathetic, if not sympathetic, to terror abroad and oppression at home. A student of Sheikh Muhammad Shaarawi (an Egyptian cleric who promoted Jewish-Muslim relations and backed Anwar Sadat’s decision to make peace with Israel), Palazzi is a harsh critic of the anti-Semitism that has come to pervade Islam.

A proponent of Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon’s voluntary transfer plan, Palazzi opposes the US-backed road map on the grounds that it rewards Palestinian terror. His most vocal criticism, however, is reserved for the Saudis, whom he sees as the main force behind the rise of extremism in Islam.

Click here to read the rest of the interview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *