Opinion: Fatwa Against Terror Falls Short of Strength It Could Have Had

August 8, 2005

Source: The Washington Times


On August 8, 2005 The Washington Times ran an opinion piece by Walid Phares, a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington and a professor of Middle East Studies at Florida Atlantic University, on the North American fatwa against terrorism. Phares writes, "A number of North American-based Muslim organizations, clerics and activists held a recent press conference in Washington to release a 'fatwa against Terrorism'... When secular people and Muslim humanists called on Muslim leadership to condemn terrorism, they wanted to see community and political leaders mobilizing their constituencies against al Qaeda and other jihadists, not to further entrench their communities in a separate world organized fully by fatwas. And when governments and intellectuals called on Muslim clerics to counter the fatwas by radical Wahhabis and other radicals, they hoped the moderates would issue edicts calling on their followers to reject the extremists on grounds of international law... A clerical edict by American Muslim scholars must be as powerful as the Salafist and Wahhabi fatwas or should not be issued. It should call for the respect of international law above all other laws when politics is involved."