Sunday, August 28, 2005

IOL: Islamic scholar bans suicide attacks

Islamic scholar bans suicide attacks

Dubai - A prominent London-based militant Islamic scholar has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning suicide operations of the kind carried out by followers of the al-Qaeda network.

"To my mind, these operations are closer to suicide than to martyrdom-seeking, and they are taboo and not permissible" for a number of reasons, wrote Syrian-born Abdul Menem Mustafa Halimeh, alias Abu Baseer al-Tartussi, on his website.

The Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which reported Tartussi's fatwa on Saturday, described him as a top ideologue for Islamist militants and said his edict had provoked angry reactions on Islamist websites, with some accusing him of letting down al-Qaeda followers.

Tartussi, who adheres to the rigorous fundamentalist Salafi school and is the author of several theoretical works, said he was publishing his edict in response to repeated queries over where he stands on suicide attacks.

'These operations are closer to suicide than to maryrdom-seeking'
Among the reasons listed by Tartussi for his stance was that suicide operations "necessarily mean a person killing himself, which violates dozens of (Islamic) religious texts".

They also most often entail "wrongfully killing innocent and sacred souls, be they Muslim or otherwise", he said.

In addition, a "mujahed", or holy warrior, who is prepared to sacrifice his life is "invaluable" and "should not be condemned to death, through a bombing operation, as soon as he sets foot on the arena of jihad... as this heartens the enemies," Tartussi said.

"In some of the modern arenas of jihad to which young Muslims flock from everywhere... the young man is given a choice between accepting to become a martyrdom-seeker... and returning to where he came from," he complained.

He was apparently referring to Iraq, where al-Qaeda affiliates fighting against US-led and Iraqi government forces have carried out scores of deadly suicide bombings over the past two years, many of which have victimised civilians.

A suicide attack 'violates dozens of religious texts'
Reports say some of the Saudi and other militants who come from abroad to join the insurgency are pushed into carrying out suicide attacks shortly after they arrive in Iraq.

The edict was dated August 24, the same day Britain unveiled a plan to bar or deport foreign Islamist radicals who engage in so-called "unacceptable behaviours," such as fomenting, justifying or glorifying terrorist violence.

The plan is part of a wide-ranging government crackdown on extremist groups in Britain following July 7 suicide bombings in London which killed 56 people, and attempted copycat attacks on July 21. - Sapa-AFP

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