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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fatwa: "Be careful about hacking Israelis, because they are better than we are"

From Al Arabiya:

In light of the increasing support of “the electronic Jihad” and the divergence of views regarding this subject, Islamic scholars have underlined their support for this new phenomenon, arguing that “any attempt to spite the enemy and endorse religion is legitimate”. They consider that Muslim youth involved in this phenomenon are in fact leading a jihad”.

But what do those who refuse to support this phenomenon have to say? They believe that “bringing down the enemy’s electronic devices could help in realizing certain objectives in some instances, but it can also be harmful if done at the wrong time.”

They noted that there is “a large number of people in the world who sympathize with Israel and might get involved in this battle, which would widen the circle of damage.”

On the other hand, Sheikh Fahd Bin Saad Al Jahni, a professor of sharia graduate studies, says that “in Islam, the Jihad is a broad concept that could be defined according to the interpretation of the and texts that cite the jihad. There are many types of jihad: the personal jihad, the jihad by money, and verbal Jihad. The last type includes the intellectual jihad, jihad by composition and by the call to God”.

Al Jahni added that “any attempt to spite the enemy and empower the religion must be conducted by legitimate means and according to Muslim rules. Therefore, religion could be widely empowered through electronic websites. This is what some people call “the electronic Jihad”. Thus, the terminology is correct, but it is the definition that matters as well as the extent to which the concept respects the legitimate procedure.”

“Therefore, I believe that the young Muslims who are striving to take advantage of this wide electronic window and fight the perverted ideology or shut down obscene websites and the websites of those who offended and dishonored the people of Islam and put hand on their holy sites like the Zionist aggressors, are using all legitimate means and are indeed leading a jihad provided they don’t exceed the limit of God in their rivalry,” Al Jahni said.

Moreover, Abdullah Al Aalwit, a Muslim law researcher, pointed to the fact that electronic jihad means “destroying the enemy’s electronic devices or surreptitiously taking valuable information from these devices.” He confirmed that “the electronic jihad, like any other type of ihad, is legitimate in determined instances and might be harmful if used at the wrong time and in the wrong circumstances.

“However, it is clear that the nation’s condition does not allow any type of Jihad against any of its enemies because our enemies are way more advanced than we are in all kinds of fields. If an electronic war shall erupt, it is expected to have serious repercussions due to the big number of those who sympathize with Israel in the world and who might enter this battle, which would widen the circle of damage,” he added.

Al Aalwit advised that people should “take this factor in consideration because sympathizers with Israel exceed us in number and in their scientific and technological skills. We are not discouraging this type of jihad because the true original jihad is led by fight and struggle and any other attempt is simply a means to exert pressure and strangle the enemy rather than a jihad. The term “jihad” here is used as a metaphor, and since electronic wars are means of pressure, they do not conform to the known provisions of jihad”.

“In addition, the electronic Jihad is immoral because it is similar to theft, spying and embezzlement. Jihad is not fought in this manner, as if we are spreading drugs in the enemy’s society. Electronic jihad only serves in times of war when fighters want to disrupt the enemy’s communication devices. However, we are not in war and electronic battles under these circumstances are considered as a type of corruption.”
So while there is a divergence of views, it doesn't look like any Muslim scholar has a problem with attacking, say,  a hospital website if they think there is a war going on. The main question is whether they need to worry more about the repercussions that could boomerang on them.