Stop Terror Sheikhs, Muslim Academics Demand
Over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals
from 23 countries have signed a petition to the United Nations calling
for an international treaty to ban the use of religion for incitement
to violence, according to the English-language daily newspaper Arab
News, based in Saudi Arabia.
It also calls on the Security Council to set up a tribunal to try
“the theologians of terror.” The petition is addressed
to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and to all members of the Security
Council and its current chairman.
“There are individuals in the Muslim world who pose as clerics
and issue death sentences against those they disagree with,”
says Shakir Al-Nablusi, a Jordanian academic and one of the signatories.
“These individuals give Islam a bad name and foster hatred among
Nablusi said hundreds of Arab writers and academics were collecting
more signatures and hope to have “tens of thousands” by
next month. Among those collecting signatures are Jawad Hashem, a
former Iraqi minister of planning, and Alafif Al-Akdhar, a leading
Tunisian writer and academic. Most of the signatories are from Saudi
Arabia and other Gulf states plus Iraq, Jordan and Palestine.
The signatories describe those who use religion for inciting violence
as “the sheikhs of death”. Among those mentioned by name
is Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian preacher working in Qatar. The signatories
accuse him of “providing a religious cover for terrorism.”
Last year Qaradawi raised a storm when he issued a fatwa allowing
the killing of Israeli pregnant women and their unborn babies on the
ground that the babies could grow up to join the Israeli Army. Last
September, Qaradawi in a fatwa in response to a question from the
Egyptian Union of Journalists said killing “all Americans, civilian
or military” in Iraq was allowed.
“We cannot let such dangerous nonsense to pass as Islam,”
The petition also names the late Egyptian preacher Muhammad Al-Ghazzali
who, in 1992, issued a fatwa for the murder of Farag Foda, an anti-clerical
writer in Cairo. Within weeks of the fatwa, zealots murdered Foda
in his home.Other “sheikhs of death” mentioned include
the Yemeni Abdul-Majid Al-Zendani, and the Saudis Ali bin Khudhair
Al-Khudhair and Safar Al-Hawali.
The two Saudis have described the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the
United States as “retaliations”, and thus justified under
Issuing murder fatwas has a long story.
In 1947 the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Ahmad Kasravi,
one of Iran’s most prominent lawyers. A few weeks later, six
men stabbed Kasravi to death in a court of law. In 1951 a group of
mullas issued a fatwa for the murder of Iran’s Prime Minister
Haji-Ali Razmara. He was shot dead a few days later. In 1989 Khomeini
issued a fatwa for the murder of the British novelist Salman Rushdie.
The signatories of the petition also want the UN to order its member
states to stop broadcasting the “mad musings of the theologians
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