Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad, a professor of Islamic law at Al-Imam University, Riyadh, which aired on Daleel TV on August 8, 2009.
Interviewer: A year ago, Sheik Saleh Al-Lahidan issued a fatwa that made all hell break loose. He demanded that owners [of liberal Arab TV channels be placed on trial] and repent. Do you support Sheik Al-Lahidan’s demand?
Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: I believe all Muslim scholars support him in this.
I believe that one of our problems is that we continue to bury our heads in the sand, and talk about “Lebanese” TV channels, as if we are being honest. Take LBC, for example. We all know who owns it. We should say to [the owner] Al-Walid bin Talal: Beware. The same is true of MBC TV, Al-Arabiya TV, the ART and Rotana channels – all these [Saudi] channels serve to destroy Islam and the Muslims.
Regarding these base channels that I have mentioned, and others like them – I have no doubt whatsoever that their danger to the Islamic nation is no less than that of the Zionist Jews, or of the Crusader Americans in Iraq and elsewhere.
Interviewer: What led you to such an extremist view? Note that you are equating channels owned by Muslims, by Saudi citizens, with the Jews.
Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: I wasn’t equating them. I said they are more dangerous. I was being precise. in my view, the deadly poison that they are spreading has reached the bone marrow.
The people who spread corruption in the land – whether highway robbers, drug dealers, or the owners of these TV channels, who are even more dangerous... These channels broadcast corruption and nudity. They are all people who spread corruption in the land, and they should be tried in an Islamic court of law and sentenced to death. This [fatwa] is clearly in accordance with Islamic law. There’s no doubt about it.
Interviewer: The ferocity of this fatwa has cast fear in the hearts of...
Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: ... of the hypocrites.
Interviewer: In everybody’s hearts. Even in the West, it received much attention.
Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Islam itself casts fear...
Interviewer: No, it doesn’t. Islam is a religion of tolerance and leniency, Sheik.
Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Allah says otherwise. Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: “Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah’s enemies and of your own.” Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death – this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.
I believe that [the TV channel owners] are more dangerous than all of these. Forget about whether or not they should be killed – we demand that they face trial in an Islamic court of law. I call upon the good, honorable businessmen to contribute their millions in order to hire lawyers to file Islamic lawsuits against these TV channels owners, and to persecute them legally. I call upon lawyers and good people in Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf states, in Egypt, in Yemen, and everywhere, to banish them from all Muslim countries.