July 28, 2005
Fatwas Against Terrorism
From the State Department:
The Fiqh Council of North America has issued a fatwa against terrorism:
The scholars based their ruling on several Quranic passages, including the verse, “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]… it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)
I mentioned this verse a while back, to make a point about terrorists in Iraq "justifying" their behaviour by using apostasy as a loophole. That loophole was closed by a group of clerics in Jordan, one day before the London bombings.
While this might suggest a growing movement within the Muslim community to ostracize extremist elements, not all organizations reacted this way. The Canadian Islamic Council decided to pre-emptively play the victim in this statement issued on July 7:
Hours after the terrorist attacks in London this morning the Canadian Islamic Congress issued a brief statement condemning the crime. It said irrespective of who claims responsibility for the bombings CIC hopes and prays that Canadian Muslims will not pay a price for being found guilty by association.
They came to their senses a few days later and issued a statement supporting the British fatwa, but the "victim" theme is still apparent.
Overall, my feeling is that this will not have a significant impact on the Muslim audience until these councils start naming individuals and groups, rather than going on about "extremism, fanaticism or terrorism" in general.
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These declarations and fatwas are still a good sign, because they don't include the usual caveat at the end "And we also condemn the loss of innocent life anywhere in the world, including Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq.. etc".
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with condemning innocent deaths in these other places - in fact we should issue statements to that effect when something tragic happens in other parts of the world - but they don't have to be done in the same breath as when you're talking about the terrorism issue. It tempers the condemnation and the blame.
However, I don't see which specific organization they can blame at this particular point with respect to the London or the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings. It's not yet clear which 'organization' the bombers belonged to, and any names we've been hearing are obscure groups. To name them specifically might be granting them more significance than they have.
Posted by: Ali at July 29, 2005 12:46 AM
Well said, I agree it's a step forward.
Posted by: eerie at July 29, 2005 11:47 AM
I was at a talk by a few Muslim Canadians, organized by a Muslim sect, after 9/11. By the organizer's admittion they were a bit hard-edged, not being their first choices for the talk, but even so it was surprising how defensive they were. They were all Pakistani I believe, and all they could do was sputter against the US and act as if they were being put on trial. Later on I was talking to a few other (non-Muslim) attendees, and said "why do they act as if they're being blamed, they haven't done anything", meaning the speakers, and was uniformly misunderstood to be referring to US, which prompted the usual 'the US has been screwing with the area for decades'. Not untrue, but it really felt like at least *some* attention should have been payed to, say, the terrorists.
Posted by: zurn at July 29, 2005 01:46 PM