Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Sunni cleric Maher Hamoud, which aired on NBN TV on July 7, 2008.
Maher Hamoud: What does the concept of "the Rule of the Jurisprudent" mean? I am talking about its general philosophy. The jurisprudent constitutes a source of authority for the sates and its politics – not the other way around, like things are today. Today, most of the so-called 'ulama are merely employees who receive their orders from the politicians.
Interviewer: Who are you referring to?
Maher Hamoud: The official 'ulama in general, who are employees working for the political authority. They say whatever is dictated to them, and none of them has the courage to cross the line delineated for him. Historically, it was the 'ulama who dictated to the politicians what is permitted and what is prohibited, and what they can or cannot do.
It was [Osama Bin Laden] who carried out [9/11]. Whether Al-Qaeda was infiltrated and whether someone persuaded him to do it – this is another matter, and history will tell. But he carried it out, and he revealed the names of the "19 knights." Asking again and again whether or not he did it is an insult to intelligence. Do I admire his personality and loyalty? Yes, I do, but as I have said more than once, that if I had been with him and he had asked for my advice or fatwa, I would not have sanctioned any of the things he did, except for attacking the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters, and the White House.
I wish I could meet [Osama Bin Laden] and discuss things. I am not saying this out of disregard for other people. I am convinced that I could persuade him of many things and channel his extraordinary energy to the right direction.
Interviewer: So you do not consider Osama Bin Laden to be a terrorist?
Maher Hamoud: No, he is a mujahid, who has made some wrong judgment calls. He is undoubtedly a mujahid and not a terrorist in the negative sense of the world. He has a national and a popular goal...
Interviewer: What about his position regarding the Christians?
Maher Hamoud: Undoubtedly, this position is not right... I wrote this in Al-Nahar and elsewhere. He is very wrong to talk about a Zionist-Crusader enemy. This is a strategic mistake. Like I've said, there is no such thing as a crusader enemy. There is no global institute or Christian country fighting Islam. This is an illusion.
Who can possibly claim that Bush is a Christian? He is a Zionist. He is a Zionist in his ideology, his thoughts, and his commitments. The 50 million members of the new Protestant Church in America are Zionist, rather than Christian, in their ideology, priorities, and perspectives. It is a strategic mistake on the part of Osama to talk about Crusaders and Zionists in the same breath. This is wrong, and it is harmful to his strategy and long-term perspective. Even if, for the sake of argument, we said this was true, the Prophet Muhammad taught us to operate in stages. When he fought the polytheists, he ignored the Jews, and when he fought the Jews, he ignored the polytheists. If I launch a war against the entire world... If we assume that there are six million Jews in the world, and that there are 50 million people in America supporting them – those are all the Zionists in the world. But in the Christian world, there are three billion people. What reasonable man would start a war against the Christian world, most of which is not interested [in the Jews]?