A too-long delayed fatwa

Perhaps you may have heard that a group of American Islamic leaders has issued a fatwa, (or Islamic religious ruling,) against terrorism and extremism. The 18-member Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) recently issued the fatwa, which apparently is being endorsed by other major American Muslim groups.

The Nevada Appeal quoted Imam Gharib Khalili of the Northern Nevada Muslim Community (who also endorses the fatwa) as saying that “Islam is a religion that forbids hurting another person even with a word, and a statement like this helps put the religion in proper perspective.”

According to www.isna.net/index.php?id=316, the fatwa stated, “Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram or forbidden and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not ‘martyrs'” [emphasis added].

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But in fact, the fatwa is about as valid as a $3 bill. Conspicuously missing from this little ditty are the definitions for “innocent” and “civilians.” As I read it, terrorism against anyone not considered either “innocent” or a “civilian” is way cool.

If I’m wrong on that interpretation, perhaps someone can explain why this language would even have been included? These are, after all, intelligent, learned scholars. Was it so difficult to be clear and unambiguous? For example: “If you kill people, you are not Muslim. You do not represent Islam. We condemn you.”

Although perhaps one need only consider that at least a half dozen of the council are suspected of having links to terrorism themselves (www.investigativeproject.org/FCNA-CAIR.html).

Granted, this little token may be a giant step for Muslim public relations, but hey, just for giggles, let’s take a brief quiz about some recent history, as written in an e-mail that’s been making the Internet rounds in support of racial profiling.

Question: Israeli athletes were killed at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, in 1972 by whom?

Question: The U.S. embassy in Iran was overrun in 1979 by whom?

Question: The U.S. Marine base in Beirut was blown up in 1983 by whom?

Question: The cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked in 1985, by whom?

Question: Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, by whom?

Question: The World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 by whom?

Question: The U.S. embassy in Kenya was bombed in 1998 by whom?

Question: The U.S. embassy in Tanzania was also bombed in 1998 by whom?Question: 9/11 was the result of whom?

Question: The bombings in London last month were carried out by whom?

The answer to all the questions is, of course, “Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.”

Now to all but the blind and the Blame America First crowd, the pattern here is big enough to park an aircraft carrier on. Clearly, the majority of large-scale terrorist attacks aren’t being carried out by some pissed off segment of the Girl Scouts or a group of overzealous Jehovah’s Witnesses.If this fatwa is to be taken at face value, perhaps someone can answer this: Given the aforementioned events and others like them, why did it take 30 years to get around to issuing it?