In a May 16 interview with Al-Tanasuh TV, Libyan cleric Muhammad Bouajila, a member of the Libyan Ulema Association, explained that in principle, beheadings and body mutilation are prohibited, but that they are allowed under certain circumstances "especially if this serves to strike terror in the heart" of the enemy. Sheik Bouajila further commented that Muslims should fight non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizya poll tax. Al-Tanasuh TV is owned by Sadiq Al-Ghariani, Mufti of Libya, who is associated with the Libya Dawn forces.
Following are excerpts:
Muhammad Bouajila: The mujahideen were ordered not to start by fighting [non-Muslim] people. As the religious scholars maintain – and this has been the Muslim reality as well – the [mujahideen] must first ask three things of them: First, they should call them to convert to Islam. When armies would come [near a city], they would wait to hear the call to prayer from the mosques. If there was no call to prayer, and there were no mosques, they would raid the city and would call upon the locals to convert to Islam.
If they refuse, Islam does not force them to convert. [The Quran says]: "There is no compulsion in religion. Truly, the right way has become clearly distinct from error." Second, they should ask them to pay the jizya poll tax. In exchange for their protection, they should pay the jizya. If they refuse to convert to Islam, and refuse to pay the jizya, there is no choice but to confront and fight them. You tell me, in such a case, who is considered to have started the fighting?
Interviewer: They are!
Muhammad Bouajila: Yes. They were given three options. If they had chosen to convert to Islam, they would have become Muslims, regardless of whether or not they had been hostile toward Islam beforehand. If they refused, they could still have paid the jizya for their protection, and that would have ended the problem. But if they refuse to convert to Islam and refuse to pay the jizya, they are the ones who have chosen the option of fighting and contention. In such a case, the Muslims should fight them. This exists only in Islam.
Muhammad Bouajila: In other religions, when they take over, they force you [to convert]. This happened in Libya, in Egypt, in Algeria, and in all the countries occupied by the West.
The jurisprudents have said that in principle [mutilation of bodies] is prohibited, but that if they mutilate the bodies of our dead, we will mutilate theirs, especially if this serves to strike terror in their hearts. If this terrifies and petrifies them, it may reduce the intensity of their fighting against the Muslims.
Some jurisprudents have said that if it serves a probable interest, beheadings [are permitted] as a means to strike terror. Obviously, this has to be done in a war led by Islam, and in keeping with the advice of Islamic jurisprudence.