Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Not Fatwas Again! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It remains the most prominent issue, and the greatest controversy; this is the ongoing attempts of fatwas in the Arab and Islamic world to undercut the authority of the State and undermine it from within. The latest glaring example of this was the recent fatwa issued by the Committee of Sharia Scholars belonging to the Islamic Action Front [AOF] party in Jordan – which is the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood– about the presence of Jordanian armed forces in Afghanistan.

The seriousness of this fatwa is not reflected in any one single element [of the fatwa] but rather strikes several fundamental issues that affect the security and indeed existence of the Kingdom of Jordan. This Muslim Brotherhood issued fatwa is an attempt to undermine the dignity of the Jordanian armed forces, and drag it into a futile political debate, as well as an attempt to incite the army against the State. This fatwa also represents an attack on the position of the commander-in-chief of the Jordanian armed forces. The other danger is that this fatwa includes explicit support for the Taliban and the terrorist Al Qaeda organization everywhere, not just in Afghanistan!

Part of this fatwa reads “it is the duty of Muslim rulers to send their armies to fight on the side of the Afghan mujahedeen, and prohibit them from betraying their brothers in Afghanistan or in any occupied Muslim country.” This last phrase clearly shows that this fatwa also calls for soldiers to be sent to support Al Qaeda and its affiliates anywhere that the US or any other country has raised its flag, or is cooperating with the local government to combat terrorist, from Iraq to Yemen. This is particularly strange, particularly as Jordan itself, suffered and continues to suffer, from the threat of terrorism. The question that must be asked today is: is the Committee of Sharia Scholars of the AOF with the terrorists or against them?

Protesting against wars and the deployment of soldiers is a natural right in whatever country – whether it is democratic or not – and we have seen all kinds of anti-war protests in Britain, throughout Europe, and also in America, and indeed even in New York which suffered the worst terrorist attack against civilians in modern history. We have seen governments collapse due to these anti-war sentiments and protests however these [protests] have all taken place via legitimate and peaceful channels, not through incitement to rebellion, or undermining the State or the army. What is puzzling is that we do not see such groups or organizations [as the Committee of Sharia Scholars of the AOF] issuing fatwas that prohibit young Arabs and Muslims from travelling to warzones and regions or conflict, or from undertaking [terrorist] operations that result in the loss of innocent lives, whether in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, or the US!

Therefore, every political fatwa that is issued in the Arab world not via a legitimate body – whether this fatwa touches upon social or political issues – is nothing more than an attempt to achieve political objectives in the name of religion. Such fatwas are nothing more than the persistent and ongoing attempts [of these groups] to undercut the prestige of the State and undermine the State from within, and ultimately this is something that is a greater threat than any external enemy.

Therefore, the pressing question that must be asked here is: when will our countries start to pay attention to this threat?