Yusuf al Qaradawi has issued a fatwa forbidding Iraqis from becoming American citizens on the grounds that the United States is occupying Iraq. His statement also applies to Afghans. (Read the IPT's translation of al Qaradawi's comments here).
Al Qaradawi's remarks were made on a religious program on an Arabic news channel. He expressed agreement with a ruling which Tunisian clerics had made during the colonial era decreeing "that whosoever adopts French nationality is an apostate." (It may be noted that al Qaradawi has defended the death penalty for apostates.)
These statements have caused a strong reaction in the Middle East. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has reported on the controversy. For example, at the thousand year old al Azhar University, the most prestigious religious institute in the Muslim world, one lecturer has gone so far as to say, "The Americans are not the enemies of Iraq alone, but of the entire Islamic nation." On the other hand, another teacher at al Azhar opined that naturalization "helps spread Islam in the West." One Arab journalist in an article published in Arabic and English asserts, "This fatwa has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, and contains more political absurdity then it does religious guidance."
Niqash, an Iraqi weekly, reports that the fatwa "has angered Iraqis for what they perceive as a misguided and unjustified intervention in Iraqi affairs." An Iraqi specialist in Quran studies quoted in the article said that the fatwa "is based on an obsolete logic that divides the world into a land of peace and a land of war."