Why has there been no Fatwa issued against Bin Laden?


In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyasa, Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi, a Jordanian intellectual who resides in the U.S., asks why Islamic religious scholars haven’t issued a fatwa against bin Laden. [1] The following are excerpts:

Terrorism in the Arab World Has Been Encouraged by Islamic Legal Scholars

“The First International Islamic Conference, [that convened] in Amman, Jordan in July 2005, was attended by a large group of Islamic legal scholars and clerics… The conference published a series of routine recommendations whose content has already been put forward at many other such events. The recommendations condemned the blind violence in the name of Islam [that exists] in a number of countries, and called for dialogue and coexistence among the followers of [Islam’s] four schools of law and the various Islamic sects. Ultimately, these recommendations are insufficient. They do not point to the wound and do not heal the patient, because this conference lacks the power to implement the recommendations…

“Many of the clericsand the legal scholars who attended the First International Islamic Conference in Amman had themselves published fatwas that incited to murdering civilians, women, children, and the elderly, under the umbrella of ‘religious Jihad.’ Perhaps the reason for the intensification of terrorism in the Arab world, in the form to which we are witness today, was first and foremost the encouragement it received from Islamic legal scholars, under a mantle of religion that is in most cases false, hijacked, and defective. If the legal scholars – who have encouraged terrorism by means of these vocal religious fatwas – were acting properly, they would be issuing a fatwa calling to kill bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Zarqawi, and all Al-Qaeda leaders everywhere.

Is It Right To Condemn The West For Its Aggression Against The East And Not To Condemn The Muslim Who Murders His Muslim Or Non-Muslim Brother?

“The Al-Qaeda leaders have killed thousands of innocent people – Arabs and non-Arabs, children, women, and the elderly – who have nothing to do with the conflict in the Middle East… Is it [really the conflict that] prevents the legal scholars from issuing fatwas condemning these murderers and permitting killing them, and getting rid of their evil? Or is it that those legal scholars think it sufficient to condemn and to cite slogans, about tolerance, love, and cooperation, and other utopian slogans that in reality are not worth the ink used to write them and the considerable funds necessary to convene the festivals of religious exhibitionism that lack decisive resolutions…

“Doesn’t the fact that to date not a single fatwa has been issued calling for killing bin Laden and the other Al-Qaeda leaders involved in terrorist operations in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt… prove that many of the legal scholars who claim to be opposed to the waves of terrorism actually embrace these terrorist operations and secretly welcome them?

“Isn’t it akin to catastrophe, disintegration, mental annihilation, misguidedness, the absence of human sensibility, religious blindness… for some of the legal scholars to treat terrorism with a double standard, all the while accusing the ‘infidels’ of treating terrorism with a double standard…?

“Terrorism in Doha, for example, is prohibited, and sheikhs demonstrate to denounce and condemn it – while terrorism in Baghdad, Riyadh, Cairo, Sharm Al-Sheikh, Taba, and other places, is [considered] permitted and also restores the desecrated honor of the Islamic nation… Would it be right and fair to condemn the West for its aggression against the East and not to condemn the Muslim who murders his Muslim or non-Muslim brother who committed no crime?

Al-Qaeda Interpreted the Islamic Legal Scholars’ Silence as an Endorsement of their Crimes

“The fact that to date no fatwa has been issued [calling to kill bin Laden] is what strengthened bin Laden, his men, and Al-Qaeda, and it is what is encouraging them to expand the circle of murder and terrorism in the Arab world. Moreover, Al-Qaeda interpreted the Islamic legal scholars’ silence as an endorsement of their crimes…

“Who is more dangerous to Islam now? Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, or Salman Rushdie and [his] stupid and superficial story, The Satanic Verses ? Why did they permit, with a fatwa, the blood of Salman Rushdie, but did not issue a fatwa against bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and Al-Zarqawi?

“Who is more dangerous to Islam today, and in the past: bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, or Faraj Foda, Hussein Muruwwa, Mahmoud Taha, Al-Sadeq Al-Nayhoum, and other contemporary Arab intellectuals? Why were fatwas issued to kill them – and they were indeed murdered – and to date no fatwa has been issued against bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda leaders?…”


[1] Al-Siyasa (Kuwait), August 7, 2005.