December 02, 2002
Where are all the Fatwas?

The term fatwa is used most often in the Western media to refer to a death sentence issued by a Muslim official. The most famous example, perhaps, is the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa for Salman Rushdie's execution.

But a death sentence is only one kind of fatwa. As Islamic scholar Ziauddin Sardar explains, "A fatwa is simply a legal opinion based on religious reasoning" and any Muslim can issue a fatwa.

Sardar goes on to issue this fatwa:

any Muslim involved in the planning, financing, training, recruiting, support or harbouring of those who commit acts of indiscriminate violence against persons or the apparatus or infrastructure of states is guilty of terror and no part of the Ummah. It is the duty of every Muslim to spare no effort in hunting down, apprehending and bringing such criminals to justice.
I applaud him. But is this an isolated incident? Have many other Muslims issued fatwas against Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and others who murder innocent civilians in the name of Islam? Where are these fatwas? And where are the fatwas against those who finance and support the terror organizations? And even more importantly, how are those fatwas being carried out?

If Islam is truly a Religion of Peace, wouldn't the peaceful Muslims be proactively fighting those who use violence in the name of Islam?

These questions are not rhetorical. I'm not aware of any such fatwas (other than Sardar's) but I would hope that they're being issued and acted upon. Could anyone give me examples?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 02, 2002 06:35 AM

the problem with fatwas is that they require prestige to be inforced (kind of like private justice...)

so while anyone can issue a fatwa (just like anyone can certify taht a product is electrically safe), the importance of that fatwa is limited to the prestige and power of the individual (getting "undercutters' labs" certification is likely to be less helpful in selling products or maintaining inusrance than getting certification from "underwriters' labs")

so yes muslims of good will need to issue fatwas, and oppose the war on terror in general, but we should understand hwo they're likely to be ineffectual...

as for the terrorism issue... what would happen if some disgruntled, oppressed individuals were to start avenging their anger in the middle east? would it be understandable? or just evil... people's front for the liberation of idaho shooting up the riyadh airport? the popular front for the liberation of middle dakota blowing up soukhs?

of course these people might be more technically proficient... "accidentally" blowing up wahabi preacher's houses... etc..

but of course we fight fair... hell we barely even fight, won;t call terror terror, won't retaliate, won't do anything...

do a full mobilisation, sack riyadh, cairo, tehran... tell the chnese that if they don;'t move their missiles away from the coast we'll start getting rid of their cities, and that we know where all their icbms are and can eliminate them before they can be launched...

let's exert some REAL power... make'm tremble... then declare germany and france open countries outside of any US protection! HAHAHAHAHA

Posted by: libertarian uber alles on December 4, 2002 07:21 PM

I too have questioned where are the fatwas against those who commit evil deeds, and dare say that they are muslims. Where are the fatwas against those who murder women who have been raped? Against muslim leaders who oppress it's people and torment them? I am muslim, and I am glad to see other muslims standing up against the falsehoods that have been associated with islam. I hate seeing that muslims don't seem to discuss matters where they differ, they think murder is the answer to everything. Please muslim people read your quran, and vie with one another in good deeds, and even if it be against yourself, do not stand up for the wrong.

Posted by: Kim on March 15, 2005 01:24 PM
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