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Counter Fatwa is the Solution | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The time has come to issue a fatwa to excommunicate bin Laden and his followers from the world of Islam. In fact, as terrorism rages in cities from New York to Casablanca, Cairo to London we need a stream of solid counter fatwas from the Muslim community. Thus far we have heard Muslim fatwas telling us that Islam does not condone violence against the innocent or Islam condemns these actions. This is not enough. We need to exclude those among us who make it necessary to defend Islam in such a way. As a Muslim I think that we need to be absolutely clear. We need to respond to the fatwas that are issued in our names.

Muslims all over the world should muster the courage to say no to terrorism and should point out that Islam forbids these actions. In the same spirit that Bin Laden and his group call moderate Muslims western lackeys and non-believers, it is about time that Muslim leaders pronounce bin Laden as non-Muslim—if Islam condemns that, then a clear fatwa should come out from the centers of theology in the Muslim world—from al-Azhar and from Mecca condemning bin Laden and his followers as out side the pale of Islam. It is also about time to withdraw the name of a mosque from place where Molotov cocktail is being mixed to kill innocent people.

The terrorists of Leeds cooked their plots inside a mosque and put signs outside the door that they are praying. Praying for what –for god or for Satan? Muslims should pronounce these places as places of evil no mosques. I know there are those who would argue that moderate Muslims should take over these mosques, this is very unlikely. Moderate Muslims can only boycott these mosques. They are too timid to take over the mosques from terrorists. If a mosque becomes a place where Muslims mix Molotov cocktail, then it is no longer a mosque. It should be treated as a crime scene. Mosques are places of worship. If they cease to be that, then there is no sanctity to it.

God said that He “made the whole earth a Mosque,” he also said that those who spread destruction on earth should be punished and that there hands and legs should be cut off from opposite sides, a metaphor for the severity of the punishment. Yet, some Muslims today cheer bin Laden on. Newspapers and television stations like al-jazeera practically tell bin Laden and his followers Bravo. The message sent to bin laden is that “you are doing to the west what we want done but we cannot do it.” This is the hidden message that the west is not privy to. Unless extreme pressure is applied on Muslims all over the world to come up with counter fatwas and pronounce these men as pariahs, very little will happen in fighting terrorism. Unless there are counter fatwas, Muslims will appear in the eyes of the world as providing tacit support for the terrorists. The issue is not just a matter of appearance. I have met and talks to a great many Muslims, especially in the West, who condemn violent acts in public, but in private conversations they say that “the west deserves this”. In public also they tell you it is a revenge for Palestine and Iraq, but in private I heard nothing but blind hatred that driven by a nihilistic sense of destruction, a virus that is taking over the Muslim mind, especially those living in the West. Many Muslims condemn Bin Laden, but unfortunately many do not. Many of these live in Europe or the USA. They are not sleeping cells as naïve westerners call them, they cells that are awake and vigilant and ready to strike anytime.

It is not helpful when a naïve person like London’s Mayer Livingston invites Yousef al-Qaradawi who preaches death and hate on al-jazeera channel to London and accord him the respect of a Muslim sheikh. It is also not helpful when Tony Blair and or George Bush, invite would be terrorists to meetings in Downing Street and the White House and treat them as Muslim leaders. It is also sad when western media, especially CNN and BBC invite Islamists activists who support terrorism and treat them as experts and analysts. Since 9/11, I have observed Western naiveté in the media and the world of policy and politics. George w. Bush himself had his picture taken with terrorists or would be terrorists several times. One need only count how many times Abdul Rahaman al-Amoudi who plotted to Kill Crown prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was received in the White house and the US state department to get my point. One feels a sense of shame when one counts how many times Saad al-Faqih, bin Laden’s man in London was treated as an analyst on BBC, CNN, and PBS. Sad, but true the terrorists and their supporters outsmarted the “sophisticated West.” But they have outsmarted us too. Only two things can stop terrorism, serious counter fatwas from all Muslims to excommunicate Bin Laden and his supporters and for the West to stop its naiveté about Moderate Islamists. There are no moderate Islamists. There are ordinary Muslims who are living decent lives and there are terrorists or would be terrorists.