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memri
August 11, 2006 No.
1245

Syrian Cleric Influential in the U.S. on Hizbullah Al-Manar TV: Islamic Law Permits Destroying U.S, Israeli Facilities and Interests Worldwide

On August 8, 2006, Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV aired an interview with Syrian cleric Muhammad Said Ramadhan Al-Bouti. In the interview, Al-Bouti stated that Islamic law allows for the destruction of U.S. and Israeli facilities and interests throughout the world, as long as "innocent people are not killed in the process."

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT:http://memritv.org/clip/en/1230.htm .

In a previous appearance, on Syrian TV on November 11, 2005, Al-Bouti claimed that President George W. Bush's grandfather had written a book about the life of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, "published in 1831, [in which] he says: 'As long as the Muslims' empire is not destroyed, God will not allow the return of the Jews to the homes of their fathers and forefathers.' This book exists."

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT:http://memritv.org/clip/en/931.htm .

Sheikh Al-Bouti has many followers in the West, particularly in the U.S., who often seek his advice via the "Fatawa" page of his multilingual website (http://www.bouti.com/bouti_e_fatawa.htm ), WHICH IS HOSTED IN THE U.S. [1]

On this page, Al-Bouti answers questions from his followers on topics ranging from the Islamic permissibility of U.S. 401K pension plans and advice to young Muslims vacationing in the U.S., through family relations, to jihad. Some notable questions from individuals in the U.S. have concerned issues such as why American Muslims should not join the U.S. Army; how a Syrian living in the U.S. can convert his friends to Islam; and what protocol Muslim women in the U.S. should follow in wearing the hijab.

On the topic of jihad, Sheikh Al-Bouti has answered questions regarding jihad against the Jews, the return of the Caliphate, donating funds to support jihad, and boycotting U.S.-made products. He has also answered questions on what Islam says about the People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians, to whom Al-Bouti refers as "infidels"), and on whether Osama bin Laden is "good or bad."

According to his website, http://www.bouti.com/index.htm, Sheikh Al-Bouti has been on the Faculty of Religion at Al-Azhar University in Cairo; Dean of Religion and head of the Department of Tenets and Religion at Damascus University, Syria; a member of the Royal Society of Islamic Civilization Research in Amman, Jordan; a member of the High Council of the Oxford Academy in the U.K.; and a frequent participant in conferences and symposiums throughout the world, [2] including in Europe and the U.S. - in addition to authoring over 40 books.

The following are excerpts from Al-Bouti's August 8, 2006 interview on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV and, following that, excerpts from his statements on Syrian TV on November 11, 2005.

Sheikh Al-Bouti on Al-Manar, August 6, 2006

Muhammad Said Ramadhan Al-Bouti: "As you know, the enemy in this war appears to be Israel, but, as everyone knows, the fighting enemy is actually America. Israel is merely the claw of America in this war. People who cannot stand with their fighting brothers can still fight. They can carry out other actions."

[...]

"Israel is now in the throes of death, due to the grip that has tightened around its neck. I used to be one of those who did not support acts that can be characterized as adventurous, like destroying American targets, blowing them up. But now... yesterday I was thinking about this and I looked up what the jurisprudents had to say in this matter. I hold that people who cannot stand with the Islamic resistance, but can carry out, in their countries and in other places, actions that would in some way paralyze this enemy - they should indeed paralyze the enemies' interests, and destroy their facilities wherever they may be, but on condition that they do not confuse things. In other words, innocent lives should not be lost, the action should be carefully planned, and should be limited to the people who are hostile to us. So, you are calling for a passive boycott, for example? Economic boycott is one option. This can be done by all Arab and Islamic countries. In addition, if I were asked about destroying the facilities and interests of the enemies - America and Israel - in the various countries... Does the religious law allow us to do this? Yes, as long as innocent people are not killed in the process."

Sheikh Al-Bouti on Syrian TV, November 11, 2005

Al-Bouti: "America should put itself on trial today, and it should punish itself severely for the numerous crimes against humanity it is committing. If we were to assume that the American president has developed today, with the killing of Al-Hariri, human feelings and a zeal for justice - this would be good tidings. This would be good tidings indeed, because then we'd know the American president would prosecute himself. He would put himself on trial, and would punish himself severely for the series of crime that he is committing against innocent and peaceful people. But is this really the case?"

[...]

"America has always viewed the entire world through one kind of eyeglasses - that of American interests. If it was allowed to squeeze all the interests of the world into a single cup and drink it in order to get drunk - it would do so."

[...]

"[The U.S. says] Syria should declare its support of the American occupation in Iraq. This is well known. Syria is expected to expel the Palestinians, who are only legitimately defending their rights. It is expected to expel them."

[...]

"Syria is not doing this. So there must be another means to achieve this: Killing Al-Hariri and then arousing the need for an investigation in the required American way."

[...]

"Bush the grandfather - I'm not talking about the father, but about the grandfather of the current American president - wrote a book about the life of the Prophet Muhammad. In this book, which was published in 1831, he says: 'As long as the Muslims' empire is not destroyed, God will not allow the return of the Jews to the homes of their fathers and forefathers.' This book exists. 'As long as the Muslims' empire is not destroyed, God will not allow the return of the Jews to the homes of their fathers and forefathers.' All these countries you see around you - according to their secret and public claims - are the homes of their fathers and forefathers."


[1] http://www.bouti.com/index.htm is hosted in Bedford, Texas by CIHS (chihost.com).

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 822, "Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi and Other Islamic Scholars Debate Suicide Operations in a Counter-Terrorism Conference Held in Sharm Al-Sheikh," August 22, 2005, http://memritv.org/clip/en/822.htm, in which Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi refers to statements made by Al-Bouti about the legitimacy of defense in Afghanistan and Iraq.