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Thursday, July 28, 2005

American Muslim issue a "fatwa" against terrorism!

Hat tip to Powerline for this Yahoo article:

An excerpt:

Top U.S. Muslim scholars issued a “fatwa,” or religious edict, against terrorism on Thursday and called on Muslims to help authorities fight the scourge of militant violence.

The fatwa was part of efforts by U.S. Muslims to counter perceived links between Islam and terrorism and avert any negative backlash after this month’s bombings by suspected Islamic extremists in London and Egypt.

“Having our religious scholars side by side with our community leaders leaves no room for anybody to suggest that Islam and Muslims condone or support any forms or acts of terrorism,” said Esam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, one of the groups which announced the fatwa.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said it was the first time Muslims in North America had issued an anti-terrorism edict, although they had repeatedly condemned such acts of violence.

This is wonderful. This is what so many Americans have hoped for, begged for, demanded, and need. You can group people by nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, whatever, but in the war on terror the best way to divide them is this:

1. Savage homicidal maniacs.
2. Civilized people who enable savage homicidal maniacs.
3. Civilized people who are enemies of savage homicidal maniacs.

This group of American Muslims has just gone from group 2 to group 3, and we, (and by “we” I mean ALL people in groups 2 and 3, are better off for it.)

(unfortunate) UPDATE:
Steven Emerson of the Counter terrorism Blog thinks it is a fake fatwa.
He makes some excellent points, including the following:

Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. In short, it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate. In fact, officials of both organizations have been directly linked to and associated with Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic extremist organizations. One of them is an unindicted co-conspirator in a current terrorist case; another previous member was a financier to Al-Qaeda.

I spoke with Judea Pearl, father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl who told me that the fatwa was “vacuous because it does not name the perpetrators of Islamic terrorist theologies and leaders of Islamic movements like Yousef Al Qaradawi, Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahari, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.” Pearl told me that these groups are “trying to perpetrate a deception on the American public.”

I think Emerson overstates his case. If this fatwa helps a single American Muslim choose to reject terrorism, then it is a good thing. In fact, the simple absence of rhetoric justifying or excusing or rationalising terror, alone, is a victory. So any fatwa that rejects terrorism is a step forward. Maybe the fatwa isn’t as strong as Emerson would like, but it should be celebrated regardless.

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