September 30, 2001 No.

Terror in America (10): Prominent Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, Sheikh YussefAl-Qaradhawi: 'Islamic Religious Law Dictates That We Join the Taliban's Jihad, Not the US Coalition; It is Forbidden to Attack American Citizens, But Permitted to Attack the American Military'

Sheikh Yussuf Al-Qaradhawi, a leading Sunni Muslim religious authority and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was among the Muslim clerics who established that martyrdom operations are permitted by Islamic law. After issuing a communiqué condemning the terror attacks on the US, he appeared on a religious program broadcast on Qatar's Al-Jazeera channel that focused on the attacks. Following are excerpts from the discussion: [1]

Sheikh Qaradhawi: "My communiqué condemning these acts of terrorism, that killed many innocent civilians, is not my first communiqué [on this matter]… [My objection to terror] is a matter of principle; it is the position of Islamic religious law…"

"The West has made Islam his enemy for many reasons. One is [the Middle East's natural] resources. [Since] the days of the Crusades, there are some mental complexes from which the West has not freed itself. [The West] attacked the Muslim countries, but Islam triumphed, with 'Immad Al-Din Zanji, Saladin, Baibars and others… Colonialism's aspirations are greedy and full of hate; this hatred still motivates it…"

"Perhaps they will attack Afghanistan. Perhaps they will attack Yemen, the Sudan, Lebanon… It is inconceivable that we, the Muslims, should enter into an alliance against an Islamic state that has not been proven to have done anything. Who says that Afghanistan, as a state, took part in [the attacks]? What is 'harboring terrorists' supposed to mean? Should Egypt be attacked just because Sheikh 'Omar Abd Al-Rahman is from Egypt? If a group of Algerians do something, should Algeria be attacked? [Such attacks] cannot be carried out only to appease popular sentiment…"

"The Afghanis are a wretched people seeking a crust of bread. Should an entire people be… punished? Would this solve the problem? I think not. On the contrary; it would give rise to frustration, and to hatred towards the US. In my opinion, [the attacks] resulted from the hatred towards the US. If they kill Osama bin Laden, another thousand Osama bin Ladens will arise. Is this in the world's best interests?"

"The Taliban have nothing to do with this matter; they are preoccupied with their own internal problems… I also think that Osama bin Laden no longer has the means to carry out something like this."

In answer to the question, What do you advise the Arab leaders to do now?: "It's not a matter of advice; there are religious rules that must be observed. A Muslim is forbidden from entering into an alliance with a non-Muslim against another Muslim… Allying with others to kill [Muslims] is collaborating in sin and aggression… It is also forbidden to hand over Muslims to others. Something like this is inconceivable. Islamic (Shari'ah) law says that if a Muslim country is attacked, the other Muslim countries must help it, with their souls and their money, until it is liberated. Islam treats Muslims everywhere as one nation, and it does not recognize geographical borders or [differences of] race, color, or language. It sees Muslims as one nation in Dar Al-Islam, united in Islamic belief and Muslim brotherhood. Co-religionists must not rise up against each other for other peoples' causes, particularly when it is not proven that the crime was carried out by one of those [Islamic] countries."

"How can Pakistan aid and abet invading its neighbor and co-religionist?… How can Pakistan's clerics remain silent? In my opinion, no Muslim cleric, Arab or otherwise, can in any instance allow a Muslim to support an invasion of his brother's house in another's cause."

"I support the claim that if bin Laden is proven guilty, he should be handed over to an Islamic court in any [Islamic] country – Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. I have no objections to trying him even in Mecca. But only if his guilt is proven and convincing evidence of his guilt is presented. This is no simple matter. Can anyone prove that he sent [the perpetrators], funded them, or organized them? There are terrorists all over the world, and they are not necessarily from Al-Qaida, and they did not necessarily act on bin Laden's instructions…"

"There is no doubt that the one who benefits from this crime is the Zionist entity, which has exploited it in the media, militarily, and politically…"

"We must differentiate between two types of terror: the terror of those defending their homeland and their rights… This kind of terror is legitimate. The Palestinian factions defending their land, such as Fatah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, are not terrorists. [It is] a Jihad for the sake of Allah…"

"Even if the US is guilty, in that it supports this Israeli terror, I say that this does not mean that we may attack civilians in the US, because the civilians are not guilty. We should fight the American military if we can, and if we cannot, we should fight the US economically and politically. Let us boycott the US. This is a tremendous act. At the Durban conference, all the popular organizations stood against America, until it was forced to withdraw. This is a legitimate political struggle. [But] Islam does not allow us to attack and kill civilians …"

"It is absolutely forbidden for Arab and Islamic countries to allow their bases to be used to attack Afghanistan…"

A viewer sent a fax to the program, which read as follows: "I personally place the responsibility on the Islamic clerics and sheikhs, who continuously attacked the Christians with invalid claims, in the mosques and on the Arab satellite channels, including the Fatwa recently issued by the Sheikh Qaradhawi himself stating that suicide operations are not terror and that anyone perpetrating them is a shahid [martyr]. This has incited many youths to carry out such suicide attacks…"

Sheikh Qaradhawi responded: "I do not know where he gets these claims, and involves my name as well. I call for tolerance between religions, and dialogue even with the secularists… Regarding my Fatwa on the martyrs – whom he calls suicide attackers – I do not think that [the viewer] is a Muslim, because I do not think that a Muslim would let an Islamic homeland like Palestine, and Jerusalem, remain in the hands of the Zionists, who plunder it and damage its holy sites, without the owners of the land having the right to defend themselves. All I said is that this oppressed people that was expelled from its home has the right to defend itself, and that every man has the right to become a human bomb and blow himself up inside this military society."

"Israeli society is a military society: Anyone who is not currently a soldier is a soldier in the reserves. I issued this religious ruling, and all the Islamic clerics have ruled like me, except for a few (referring to the Mufti of Saudi Arabia). Hundreds of Muslim clerics have ruled that these martyrdom operations are one of the most sublime types of Jihad for the sake of Allah. Many have asked me whether it is permitted to carry out operations outside of Palestine, and I always say no. I support what Hamas says, that every martyrdom operation must be within the lands of Palestine…"

"[If the clerics in Afghanistan call Muslims to Jihad], Muslims must help as best they can, as they did during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan… Must the situation be different from what it was during the Russian occupation only because it involves the Americans? No… the situation will not be different. We must support the oppressed against the oppressors."

[1] Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), September 16, 2001.