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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saudi clerics define and condemn "terrorism" - but....

From Al Arabiya:
Saudi Arabia's supreme religious body, the Senior Clerics Council, issued a Fatwa on Monday defining the term “terrorism.”

While defining terrorism as a whole the Senior Ulema Council decided that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States were indeed terrorist attacks.

The reason it has taken years to define terrorism was because of the difficulty to separate from liberation or independence movements.

Included in the definition of terrorist acts in the new fatwa are, “targeting of public resources, hijacking of airplanes, blowing up buildings and also al-Mofsdon fe al-Ard (to do mischief on earth)," according to the London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat.

All 20 members of the council met under the chairmanship of the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al al-Sheikh and all signed the final version of the fatwa.

The council members based the fatwa on religious texts from Quran and the Sunnah that all criminalize financial support for terrorism as well as any theoretical or intellectual material that attempts to legitimize it.

The council's fatwa does not only cover Saudi Arabia or the Islamic countries but defines terrorism in the whole world.

While it is very nice for the wise Saudi clerics to admit that 9/11 was an act of terror, there are some unanswered questions that this story brings up.

Namely, are Palestinian Arab suicide bombers or rocket launchers also terrorists? How about Iraqi suicide bombers? Did the scholars include "liberation movements" in their definition or not?

According to at least one Arab source, they seem to have either sidestepped or hushed up the answers to those questions. From El Khabar, an Algerian newspaper:

The Saudi Arabian scholars did not reveal whether the resistance operations in Palestine and Lebanon against Israel fall within this definition, or whether the same description covers the activities of the forces of the Iraqi resistance...
It will be interesting in the coming days to see if there is any reaction, pro or con, from the terrorists. That will clear up the answer!