SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Sharing the official position of ruling Al Saud, Saudi Arabia senior scholars have issued a fatwa declaring terrorism a “heinous crime” under Shari`ah Islamic law, in a bid to undermined the legitimacy of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Terrorism is contrary to the purposes of the great religion of Islam, which came as a mercy to the world … and to ensure the system of worldly coexistence,” said the 21-strong council of senior scholars, according to the Saudi Press Agency, The Guardian reported.
“Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, which is innocent of this deviant ideology … [terrorism] is nothing more than corruption and criminality rejected by Islamic sharia law and common sense.”
Any Muslim who thinks that jihad (which means “struggle”) means joining a terrorist group “is ignorant and has gone astray”, the scholars declared on Wednesday.
The scholars criticized imams who issued religious edicts, or fatwas, justifying terrorism, saying they should be tried in court, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
“Terrorism subjects the nation’s interests to the gravest dangers, and whoever said it’s jihad is ignorant,” the scholars said in the statement.
The statement comes more than a week after the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh called on Muslims to fight Islamic State to “rid people and religion of their evil and harm.”
Militants from ISIL have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the terrorist group.
Earlier this month, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, has condemned ISIL, accusing it of serving a “Zionist” plot to “destroy the Arab World”.
The scholars’ statement reflected an agreement between religious authorities and government’s efforts to crackdown on members of militant groups that include ISIL and al-Qaeda.
The statement “is the beginning of an information campaign to counter Islamic State’s religious credibility,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, told Bloomberg.
“It seems to be a direct result of the meeting in Jeddah with Kerry last week.”
The kingdom hosted a summit last week in Jeddah with Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of 10 Middle East nations that aimed to build a coalition against the militants.
Four days later in Paris, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal backed plans to bomb Islamic State in Syria, saying in his speech that the danger posed by the group “has exceeded its geography.”
“After the bombings in Riyadh in May 2003, the Saudis have been clear-eyed about the threat such radicals pose,” Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department counterterrorism coordinator who’s now director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, said.