On May 12, 2022, Libyan Islamic scholar Sheikh Zain Khairallah posted to his YouTube channel a video in which he commented on the previous-day death of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the crossfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank city of Jenin. Sheikh Khairallah said that because Abu Akleh was a Christian, it is forbidden for Muslims to pray for Allah to forgive her sins or have mercy on her soul. However, he said that it is permitted to feel sad over her death, to console her family, and to pray for Allah to take revenge against her killers. Sheikh Khairallah has 290,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, and this video was watched 45,000 times.
Zain Khairallah: "I checked it out, and I asked several reliable brothers, who told me that the journalist Shireen [Abu Akleh] was Christian.
"It is stipulated by Islamic doctrine, our belief, and our shari'a, that a Muslim must not pray for Allah to have mercy or forgive the sins for any person who was not a Muslim when he or she died.
"Are we allowed to feel sad about her? Yes, we are. If she did some good things, we feel sad about her. Should we publish a statement denouncing this crime? Yes, we should. The Prophet Muhammad considered the killing of women to be a crime. According to several reliable hadiths, he said: 'Do not kill women.' Are we allowed to attend her funeral? Yes, because the Prophet attended the funeral of a Jew.
"Are we allowed to extend condolences to her relatives and loved ones? Yes, we are. How exactly? We should say things like 'We belong to Allah and to Him we return,' 'Nobody but Allah lives forever,' 'May Allah give you patience and solace,' 'May Allah exact revenge against her criminal killers,' and so on and so forth, but you must exclude any prayer for mercy or forgiveness — not because it is Shireen, but because she did not utter the shahada.
"That journalist was a Christian. Let's assume that the person who died in this situation was a Muslim woman. What would be the position of the Christian priests and clerics and that of the Church? Would the Church hold a Mass for her? Would the Church pray for mercy and forgiveness for her? Absolutely not. There is no doubt about it."