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Opinion: An Invention of Assad's Media Machine - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ever since I heard the story of “sexual jihad” in Syria and, for example, the group of Tunisian girls who traveled there for this purpose and then returned home pregnant, I have been very skeptical of the authenticity of such stories. I suspect it not out of any conviction that there are no Takfirist groups in Syria, or because there is no one there who issues these idiotic fatwas. On the contrary, groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda are active in Syria, and brands anyone not affiliated with them as infidels. Even before it appeared in the Syrian arena, this writer expected Al-Qaeda’s appearance there for reasons I have discussed on prior occasions.

The existence of those Takfirists among Bashar’s enemies is something that does a great favor and pleases Bashar himself, for it strengthens the propaganda he is broadcasting to the West that he is fighting Al-Qaeda-linked groups on its behalf. Furthermore, the emergence of these groups is a direct result of the ignorant and feeble handling of the Syrian crisis by Obama and other western leaders.

Returning to the “sexual jihad” story, I wonder how this trick worked on those who must be well informed about the tools of Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence apparatuses and their “black propaganda.” How were people deluded into thinking that one of the “sexual jihad” girls had sexual intercourse with fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf and Syria and then returned home pregnant?

Anyone who is knowledgeable about Islamic fiqh must know that there must be “a prescribed period” of three Hijri months as a precondition for a divorced woman or a widow before she can enter into a second marriage, according to Islamic fiqh. I do not know which excuse can make such marriage permissible. Of course, there isn’t. So, “sexual marriage” must be an invention of Assad’s media.

Question: Is there something in Islamic fiqh called “sexual marriage”? Answer: no.

Question: Are the Al-Nusra Front and similar organizations considered Shari’a-reliant?
Answer: Yes, but only in their own minds.

So, then, where did such an idea come from? It came from inside Assad’s propaganda machine. The concept spread widely just because much of the international and Arab media are ignorant of fiqh idioms.

Does this mean that there are no sexual crimes among Takfirists? Perhaps, there are, but this has no origin in Islamic jurisprudence.

Writer Diana Moukalled did well in her most recent article in this newspaper, “The Collapse of the Sexual Jihad Lie.” In her article, Diana provided detailed explanation of how Assad’s media fabricated the story. She even drew attention to the reports of the fabrication in France’s Le Monde newspaper and the American magazine Foreign Policy. This is not meant to clear the Takfirists in Syria from the guilt, but is to draw the attention to Assad’s lies.

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi is a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism, as well as on Saudi affairs. He is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page editor. Mr. Zaydi has worked for the local Saudi press, and has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

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