To considerable press fanfare, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) issued a Fatwa, denouncing terrorism. The religious edict decreed that “targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is forbidden, and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs.”
What religious authority does the FCNA possess? Does its authority supersede that of say, the Imam of the Mosque of Mecca, Sheik Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays? If so, does the Fatwa extend to those the eminent (but unoriginal) Imam dubbed “Pigs and Monkeys” (a synonym for Jews among many Islamic scholars)? This foremost Islamic authority heaped hateful—and hate-inspiring—words on Hindus and Christians as well. Is that all in the past now that the FCNA has spoken?
The Council on American-Islamic Relations participated in the canned performance. CAIR’s executive director promised that this was “the strongest statement that can be made by the Islamic community.” The Muslim Council of Britain made similar sounds after July 7. We know they were not exactly channeling the British “Islamic community,” of which six percent justified the murders, 24 percent sympathized with the murderers, and 14 percent would not rat them out. (Since surveyed subjects tend to give answers that depict them favorably, these results are likely overoptimistic.) And did that Council’s Fatwa nullify the opinions of the Mayor of London’s favorite “progressive” theologian, Yusuf al-Qaradawi? As Civitas’ David Conway recently reported, the Mayor galvanized Qaradawi’s compendious knowledge to draw a sharp “moral distinction” between suicide bombings against ordinary Londoners (not good) and those against ordinary Israelis (perfectly good).
And is CAIR qualified to preach peace? Not according to terrorism expert, Steven Emerson: “Officials of both groups [CAIR and the FCNA] have been linked to various terrorist organizations. The reigning Chairman of the Fiqh Council [Taha Jaber Al-Alwani] is an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against Sami al-Arian, the alleged North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Al-Alwani has also funded Islamic Jihad front groups in Tampa.
To meet an FCNA trustee by the name of Abdurrahman Alamoudi you’d have to visit a jail cell, where he’ll be ensconced for the next 23 years for illegal financial dealings with Libya and immigration fraud. He has also admitted to partaking in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince, has voiced enthusiastic support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and has allegedly acted as a financier for Al Qaeda. Another Council member, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hanooti, maintained ties to Hamas, but has otherwise exercised remarkable restraint, merely calling for Jihad against America, England, and the Jews. The flower of the flock is undoubtedly Muzammil Siddiqui, President of the FCNA. Mercifully, he has confined himself to cursing America (“the wrath of God” and all that stuff).
CAIR’s credentials are not much better, says Emerson: “In the past 4 years, several CAIR officials have been convicted of or charged with various terrorism-related offenses.” The organization has championed and defended officials and leaders of Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Any prosecution of Islamic terrorists; any freezing of funds for their various front organizations; any deportation of radical Islamic clerics who preach Jihad—CAIR greets with squalls of “Islamophobia” and “war against Islam.” According to CAIR, the indictment of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian on conspiracy to murder more than 100 people was “politically motivated” and instigated by “the attack dogs of the pro-Israeli lobby.”
Speaking of “the Children of Israel,” one particular Quranic verse (5:32) quoted by the Fiqh Folks in support of Islam’s humanity piqued my curiosity because of a similar sounding Talmudic saying. As the Fatwa has it, this ayah declares that, “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.”
Prompted by Dr. Daniel Pipes, I examined the context of the passage in The Meaning of the Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, only to find that the FCNA has “decontextualized” it. The Qur’an actually says the following:
“On that account: We ordained
For the Children of Israel
That if anyone slew
A person—unless it be
For murder or for spreading
Mischief in the land—
It would be as if
He slew the whole people:
And if anyone saved a life,
It would be as if he saved
The life of the whole people.
Then although there came
To them Our Messenger
With Clear Signs, yet,
Even after that, many
Of them continued to commit
Excess in the land.”
The verse apparently concerns the dread-Jew. At the very least it’s fair to say this Quranic ayah is considerably less humanistic and universal than the Council claims. “Spreading mischief,” whatever that entails, qualifies as a reason to slay a person. Unjust killing is clearly not too circumscribed an activity. The Fatwa finesses the original words—and their context.
Devoid of the killing component, the Talmudic version simply and unequivocally states that, “To save one life is like saving the world.” Contrary to the Quranic Ayah, it doesn’t whittle down humanity.
The real issue here is this: whatever ancient Jewish or Church teachings may have preached, the modern nation-states dominated by Jews and Christians (believers and non-believers) follow the rule of enlightened Western law. It’s indeed possible there are sadistic Americans and Israelis who’d like to put to death apostates and blasphemers, genitally mutilate little girls, amputate the hands of thieves, beat their wives with impunity, stone women for committing adultery (the definition of which includes rape) and homosexuals for sodomy, or consider the testimony of a non-Jewish or Christian male to be worth half that of a Jewish or Christian male (women witnesses are similarly weighted in Islam). But they can’t. Or if they did, they’d be punished. Western law won’t countenance such cruelty.
Not so the law in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, or in other Muslim countries where the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Shari’a) are law. Yet the Fiqh Council assures us that the Qur’an embraces humanity. Even more ironic: in the process of persuasion, the Islamic community’s professed front men find the need to fib about what the Qur’an really says.
©2005 By Ilana Mercer