The following are excerpts from an interview by Osama bin Laden's former mufti Saudi cleric Musa Al-Qarni. The interview aired on Dubai TV, on March 18, 2006. It is followed by other appearances by Musa Al-Qarni on Iqra TV.
TO VIEW THIS CLIP: http://memritv.org/clip/en/1082.htm .
Musa Al-Qarni: "The concept of jihad is a matter of faith and Islamic religious law, which lives in the mind of every Muslim on the face of this earth. The religious education we receive through our schools, through our religious jurisprudence, our thinking, and our tradition - jihad is part of this."
"When we used to read the books about the laws of jihad, the laws about raids, and the laws about prisoners - at a time when the nation was not in a state of jihad, but in a state of feebleness, apathy, and subordination - we used to think that reading the books on jihad was a kind of entertainment, and that jihad was a thing of the past. We used to study the laws of jihad as if it were an issue of history, not of reality."
"Nobody even imagined that there could ever be jihad. Then the Islamic jihad in Afghanistan began. It began with the Russian attack on Afghanistan, the deportation of its people, the killing of its woman and children, the changing of its regime, the implementation of Communist ideology in it, the eradication of all the Islamic characteristics, even though, as everybody knows, Afghanistan is considered a very conservative country."
"This rise of Communism... In addition, the Arabian Peninsula - Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, etc. - was suffering, even before the jihad in Afghanistan, from the rise of Nasserism, which was supported by Russia. Everyone knows about the conflict in Yemen and elsewhere. People were completely driven to fight the Communist ideology.
"Here in Saudi Arabia, we were fighting a cultural war against the heretic Communist ideology in our universities, our schools, and so on. When the jihad in Afghanistan began, the social and ideological background was ripe for the Saudi youth to go [to Afghanistan]..."
Interviewer: "There was incitement from the pulpits and in the universities in Saudi Arabia."
Musa Al-Qarni: "Of course. At that time..."
Interviewer: "You reached Afghanistan during that period. The young men you met back then - how old were the people who went to join the Afghan mujahideen?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "Most of them were between 15 and 25 years old."
"At no point in his life was Osama an ordinary man. That is something we must acknowledge."
"He came from one of the richest families throughout the Gulf countries, a family known for its ties with the political regime here in Saudi Arabia, because of its construction projects and so on. In addition, he took with him [to Afghanistan] financial support. He brought his own money and the money of his family, and he also used his social influence here, as a preacher for jihad for the sake of Allah, to collect contributions. In addition, he had exceptional ties with the decision-makers, and with society as a whole here."
Interviewer: "I am asking about Afghanistan."
Musa Al-Qarni: "He was prominent there."
"Here in Saudi Arabia, the young men who were about to go to Afghanistan, would undergo mental and psychological preparation. They would be included in a group of people who would go together.
"Let me give you an example. Now that jihad has become a 'crime,' some people may be surprised by what I am about to say: At the Jedda airport there was a group of mujahideen whose job was to welcome those who arrived on their way to Pakistan. There were also offices in Jedda that would buy discount tickets for the people going to Afghanistan."
"His ambition to wage jihad preceded the war in Afghanistan. I have mentioned this in the past. Even as a young man Osama bin Laden had the ambition to wage jihad. I have mentioned in several interviews, and it is a well known fact that when there were problems in Syria between the Syrian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood - and this was known throughout the world - Osama thought of going to Syria to join the jihad of the Muslims there. The spirit of jihad was deep in the soul of Osama bin Laden."
Interviewer: "You used to be his mufti, his advisor on Islamic law?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "Perhaps he considered me something of the sort, but I..."
Interviewer: "Did the others also view you this way?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "Look, brother Daud, I am not looking for titles for myself. But let me tell you, my relations with Osama... He would definitely consult with me on matters of Islamic religious rulings."
Interviewer: "You didn't participate in the battles of jihad?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "Of course I did."
Interviewer: "Did you fight?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "I participated in several battles. I fought together with Sheik Abdallah 'Azzam and with Osama bin Laden..."
Interviewer: "Did Osama bin Laden play any military role? Did he participate in battles on a regular basis or was his role primarily one of funding, guidance, and command?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "In the early stages of jihad, Osama bin Laden's role was one of funding and mobilization. But once camps were set up especially for Arabs, Osama's role became more direct, and he personally took part in battles. He drew up the military plans, and appointed the commanders. He was the military supervisor over all of the camps. You might say, even if it wasn't that explicit, that he was the military commander of the Arab mujahideen in Afghanistan."
Interviewer: "Why did Osama bin Laden choose 15 out of the 19 from Saudi Arabia?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "I do not mean to belittle other nations, but let me tell you, our experience of the jihad in Afghanistan has shown that the Saudi youth are exceptional in terms of their sacrifice and their courage. They are exceptional in their love of jihad, and in their desire to reach the world to come, to reach Paradise. They do not hesitate."
"The Saudi youth are exceptional in their willingness to sacrifice. They long for jihad. Look at Iraq now - who are most of the young men there? Are they not Saudis? Despite the difficulties and obstacles, the Saudi youth do not listen to any authority or to any call [to refrain from] jihad for the sake of Allah.
"Look at Bosnia-Herzegovina - the Saudi youth were most of those who were martyred there, weren't they?"
Interviewer: "Do you consider what is going on in Iraq to be jihad?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "I think that fighting the Americans on the land of Iraq is jihad, that the Americans are aggressors, and that the [fighting] of Iraqis and Muslims against the Americans in Iraq constitutes a legitimate and obligatory defense. The Americans are the aggressors.
"Those who came from Florida, from Washington, and so on - is Iraq their country? Is it their land? Is it their property? What brought them? How can we explain this? By any standard, this is aggression.
"Nobody says that defense against aggression..."
Interviewer: "Why do many preachers in Saudi Arabia, like Salman Al-'Oda, 'Aed Al-Qarni, and others, say that what is going on is civil strife and not jihad?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "From what I know - and of course you have your own information - but from what I know from Salman, 'Aed, and others, they consider driving back the Americans to be jihad, but they don't recommend to Saudi youth to go there."
"Okay, do you think the Yemenite or the Kuwaiti people should go or not? Why do you single out the Saudis, telling them not to go? Is this in order to curry favor with the Saudi regime?"
Saudi Cleric Musa Al-Qarni on Iqra TV on February 3, 2005
TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://memritv.org/clip/en/523.htm .
Musa Al-Qarni: "The chaos evident today in the human race - killing, attacks, rape, robbery and so on - the cause of all this is that the flags of the Jews, the Christians, and other faiths are raised higher than the flag proclaiming 'There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.'"
"Let's look at what is written in the Koran. What position should we adopt towards Allah's enemies? Is the position we Muslims have adopted towards Allah's enemies. First, we must accept. There are those who don't want us even to use the term 'Allah's enemies.' They don't want us to say that the Jews and the Christians are Allah's enemies. They don't want us to say that the Jews and Christians are the enemies of the Muslims and Islam."
Interviewer: "This was said in the Koran and the Sunna."
Musa Al-Qarni: "Since this was said in the Koran, how can it be that among our own tongues, our own sons, our own people, among the Muslims, there are people who deny these things, and deny the enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims? True, Allah's religion is all compassion. But if someone fights Allah's religion, fights those who love Allah, distorts the image of Islam and the Muslims, and makes efforts to weaken Islam.
"This isn't just talk; let's take real examples. The Jews who now occupy the Muslims' lands, raping their women, killing their children, and destroying their houses - are these acts being perpetrated by the Muslims or by the Jews?
Interviewer: "By the Jews, the whole world knows that."
Musa Al-Qarni: "OK, but now we see that anyone who - anyone who speaks about the Jews - the term anti-Semitism has become widespread, and people are brought to trial for this. Aren't the Jews trying to make us change the Koranic verses? This verses, from the Book of our Lord, prove them to be sworn enemies and show their vile traits, their despicable defects, what they did to the prophets, and their history of scheming, deception, conspiracy and treachery. They are trying to do this."
Interviewer: "You cannot blame them for this. It is our fault because we agreed to change the Koran and the Sunna for their sake."
Musa Al-Qarni: "The terrorists are these Jews and Christians, who carry out this policy by force, oppression, and tyranny, using tanks, planes, and all the lethal weapons."
Interviewer: "Sister Aisha asked about the claim that Islam spread by the sword. They always say that Islam is spread by the sword. How should we respond to them?"
Musa Al-Qarni: "I ask how exactly the freedom that America wants is being spread."
Interviewer: "Not by the sword, but by missiles, bombs."
Musa Al-Qarni: "By missiles, by B-50s, by internationally prohibited bombs, by hundred of thousands of soldiers armed to the teeth - this is how freedom has spread."
Interviewer: "And we don't see any freedom. We see nothing but enslavement."
Musa Al-Qarni: "This religion. We must first of all, accept that Allah commanded us to spread this religion worldwide. It should be spread by calling to Allah's religion - using words, friendliness, and good deeds. By letting people hear Allah's words and showing them Allah's true religion. But if there is someone who obstructs this path and wants to prevent religion and light from reaching people, such a person must be fought. This is why Allah said: 'Fight them so there is no strife and religion is professed for Allah alone.'
"I am not one of those who deny this completely and say this religion doesn't use the sword. No. This religion uses the sword when this is necessary. Therefore, wisdom, as the religious scholars say, is to put everything in the right place. If there is need for the sword, then it is wise to use the sword, and if there is need for good deeds and preaching, then it is wise to use them.
"We ask Allah to strengthen the mujahideen in Iraq, and bring them victory over their enemies, the Jews and the Christians. I also want to stress that the jihad waged by Muslims in Iraq in order to drive out the enemies from among the Jews and the Christians who are attacking both land and honor - this jihad is legal. It is jihad for the sake of Allah and in defense of Muslim lands, honor, and sanctities."
Saudi Cleric Musa Al-Qarni on Iqra TV on October 29, 2004
TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://memritv.org/clip/en/339.htm .
Musa bin Muhammad Al-Qarni: "What role do the verses of jihad and of fighting play in our lives? Do we only deal with part of the Koran in our lives, disregarding the rest, or are we enjoined to act according to the Koran in its entirety? Therefore, I now have the right to ask - and I'm directing this question first of all to myself and to anybody interested in Muslim affairs - what role do these verses play in our lives today? Where are the Al-Anfal verses? Where are the Baraa verses? The Battle of Badr was recounted in the Al-Anfal sura. What is their connection to our lives today? Do we recite these verses only in order to remind ourselves what happened to the Prophet and his companions, and then sever them from our lives and separate them from our lives completely?
"Are we really educating in all our curricula, our sermons, our lectures, in all our meetings, on the satellite channels and in our media- are we really educating ourselves as the Prophet's companions were educated? Are we educating ourselves to be a nation of jihad, are we educating ourselves to be a fighting nation, are we educating ourselves to be a nation of the sword and the Koran? Are we educating ourselves to be a nation that conquers the entire world or are we educating ourselves to different things? But today we are not in a position… we cannot even defend ourselves…
"Moreover, we treat as criminals those who call for Muslims to be educated to such values. Anyone who calls for Muslims to be educated to jihad- we accuse him of a crime. Moreover, we may even call it terrorism, violence and extremism, and confuse things to the point of distorting the religious truths in our lives."
Interviewer: "Allah help us."
Musa bin Muhammad al-Qarni: "These are facts. Besides, there is a reality and we must be realistic. The infidels have invaded our countries. These occupying armies of the US and other countries have invaded the Land of the Islamic caliphate in Iraq. What did the Muslims do? Did they rush to the defense? The Prophet has noted that one of the seven major sins is fleeing on the day of invasion.
"Today, invasion has reached Muslim countries everywhere. Palestine is lost. Before that, Andalusia was lost, and today Iraq is being lost, and maybe other countries will follow. Do we have the abilities to halt this invasion? Or are we those who flee on the day of invasion? We pray for Allah to protect us from this.
"Furthermore, look at how the media relate to those youth who felt a responsibility to Allah and rushed to Iraq to wage jihad there for the sake of Allah. What is our position toward them? What is the position of the media, the educators, the religious clerics, Muftis, the government officials, the politicians? What is their position toward these youth? Is it a position of help, support, aid, and reinforcement, or is it perhaps a position of abandonment, accusation of crime, and frustration?"