Skip to comments.Shariah Courts Issue Fatwas,Religious Scholar Offers Reward For Death of Cartoonist (Rushdie Case)
Posted on 02/21/2006 7:29:44 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
The subscription site, STRATFOR or Strategic Forecasting, Inc. - issues almost daily a TERRORISM INTELLIGENCE REPORT with a self described "track record on accurate, insightful global intelligence and analysis earning itself a reputation as the worlds most respected private intelligence company".
Strafor's Fred Burton updates the ongoing cartoon controversy (02.21.2006)as follows :
"Fatwas and Rewards: An Inflection Point in the Cartoon Controversy" (I have highlighted key points received today via e-mail).
"Two minor Shariah courts in India's Uttar Pradesh state have issued fatwas calling for the death of a Danish cartoonist who drew caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The fatwas, issued Feb. 21, came three days after a religious scholar in Peshawar, Pakistan, offered a reward -- 500,000 rupees, or about $8,300, of his own money, and 1 million rupees, or about $16,600, fronted by two of his followers, plus a new car -- for anyone who kills one of the cartoonists associated with the controversy. "
"Taken together," writes Burton, "these two incidents mark a significant juncture in the global uproar over the Mohammed cartoons -- one that represents an uptick in security risks to Westerners around the globe. Given the nature of the two fatwas and the terms of the reward, the risks are particularly pertinent to European media professionals who would be closely associated with the cartoons or the newspapers that printed them; but the threat, for a variety of reasons, extends beyond this circle."
Burton begins by noting "neither the fatwas themselves, nor the promise of rewards by a Pakistani religious scholar, is the central issue. A fatwa is nothing more than an opinion or decree handed down by a Muslim leader or group on a matter of Islamic law. It is not binding, even in countries ruled by Shariah law, but it can be motivational. It also can be quite controversial within the Muslim community -- as has been the case with the fatwas issued in India. The true power of a fatwa lies in the credentials and reputation of the person who issues it, and the edict's consistency with Islamic principles. These factors will be taken into consideration by anyone struggling with the ethical issue of whether to abide by a fatwa."
"In Uttar Pradesh, which has a large population of Muslims, the fatwas were issued by minor entities, while the most prominent institutions there have gone on record to make it clear they do not endorse the measures. That doesn't mean, reports Strafor, that there are not those likely to act on them: Technically speaking, Osama bin Laden -- who is not a religious leader -- had no standing to issue his fatwa declaring war against the West in 1998, but followers and sympathizers certainly took his words very seriously and acted accordingly."
This Strafor intel report continues: "One of the more interesting aspects of the fatwas in this case has to do with the fact that they only now are being issued. As has been previously noted, there already has been one interesting time lapse in the case of the cartoons: They originally were published in late September 2005, but public fury in the Islamic world didn't break out in earnest until early February -- after a group of Muslim leaders traveled from Denmark to the Middle East, by their own admission, purposely to "stir up attitudes" in response to the cartoons, and after several European newspapers had republished the images."
.."Indian fatwas and the Pakistani reward offer are appearing only now -- after weeks of violent outbursts, several of them fatal, in flashpoints around the world. These statements, then, are not the knee-jerk reactions of deeply offended Muslim leaders to what is construed as blasphemy; they are being issued for other reasons. Certainly, the religious leaders very likely are offended by the images, but they waited for public sentiment to reach critical mass before publicly calling for action against Danish cartoonists. This is the logic of politics: The leaders who issued the fatwas refrained from doing so until they were sure they had a built-in level of support and that their statements would be taken seriously, lest they perhaps lose credibility with their core audience, the local congregations."
"..extreme fatwas such as those calling for the targeted killing of a "blasphemer" are most likely to resonate among hard-line conservative or radical Muslims, but they can strike a chord with larger swaths of the mainstream as well. In cases where the blasphemy was considered extreme -- or a fatwa politically expedient -- such edicts in the past have led to some unexpected results, and those in some unlikely corners of the world. Some examples from history may illuminate the security risks now at issue."
Burton writes, "Perhaps the best-known example of a deadly fatwa, at least in the West, is that issued by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against author Salman Rushdie in 1989, in response to the publication of "The Satanic Verses." Rushdie, of course, was placed under the protection of the Special Branch in London and went into hiding under an assumed identity. In this case, extreme measures were taken to protect the life of a British citizen because the fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and it was believed that the Iranians and other Muslim faithful from around the globe would go to great lengths to carry out his bidding."
"What is less widely known," reports Burton, "is the violence carried out against ancillary players associated with "The Satanic Verses." Men who translated the book into Italian and Japanese were both attacked in July 1991; one of the translators, Ettore Capriolo, survived being beaten and stabbed, but the other, professor Hitoshi Igarashi, was killed. Two years later, in 1993, the man responsible for having the book published in Norway was shot outside his home in Oslo, but survived."
"In all three cases, the victims apparently were chosen because they were easier to get to than the primary target, Rushdie, and the attacks still fulfilled the requirements of the fatwa in some form. In fact, targeting guidance in some fatwas can be subject to broad interpretation, or used as justification for seemingly unrelated acts of violence. Consider the March 1989 killings of Abdullah al-Ahdal, a Muslim spiritual leader in Belgium, who was gunned down in Brussels, along with an associate, by a Lebanese group called Soldiers of Truth. Investigators believed al-Ahdal may have been murdered because he had criticized Khomeini over the fatwa."
Burton relates an example, "38 Saudi clerics endorsed the Khomeini fatwa in February 1989 when they issued their own against Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian author who had immigrated to the United States in 1959. Khalifa's controversial writings, including a biography of the Prophet Mohammed, are widely believed to have inspired Rushdie's "Satanic Verses." In January 1990, Khalifa was murdered in Tucson, Arizona -- allegedly by al-Fuqra, a Pakistan-based extremist group that has been linked by U.S. counterterrorism officials to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and al Qaeda. One of the group's members, Mahmoud Abouhalima, was convicted for his role in the WTC bombing, and is believed to have been involved in Khalifa's murder as well."
"More recently, there have been controversies and perceived offenses to Islam in the mass media that led to killings, even when there were no fatwas or rewards in question. The case of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh certainly stands out: He was brutally murdered in Amsterdam in November 2004 by a Moroccan immigrant. Van Gogh had received death threats related to a film released earlier that year, "Submission," that dealt with violence toward women in Muslim society and projected Quranic verses in controversial ways on the screen. The confessed killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, said he murdered Van Gogh in order to fulfill his duties as a Muslim."
In all of these cases, violence associated with perceived offenses to Islam was carried out in the West or -- as in the case of the Japanese translator, who was killed in Tokyo -- other locations far removed from traditional flashpoints in the Muslim world. Thus far, the bulk of the violence in the cartoon controversy has occurred with public demonstrations in Muslim countries, but the fatwas and offers of rewards might mark a shift in that dynamic."
Again, the point here is not about the overwhelming influence of any of the religious authorities involved; certainly none of them has the stature of a Khomeini. For that matter, fatwas in general may be losing their effectiveness with Muslims as they are employed by low-ranking clerics on occasionally mundane issues. The point is that the cartoon controversy now has reached a threshold that public demonstrations against state symbols like embassies no longer may suffice to vent the frustrations of some radical elements within Islam. Where there exists any predilection to seek out Westerners as targets for violence, the fact that fatwas have been issued or rewards offered could make the difference between contemplation and follow-through."
Burton says, "We are not necessarily predicting an open season on Danish cartoonists, editorial page editors or European journalists in general; but it should be understood that, as the ancillary attacks in the Rushdie case and others have shown, there is a potential for violence to be channeled in unexpected ways. Where perceptions of blasphemy and other affronts warranting death are concerned, fatwas often are carried out with extreme brutality -- and those targeted have not always been directly associated with the initial offense."
"Moreover," he continues, "fatwas can be executed anywhere in the world, and they do not expire (though they can be rescinded or amended) until their requirements are satisfied. Considering the chord that the Mohammed cartoons touched and the depth of the emotions still playing out in the Islamic world, that satisfaction may be a long time coming."
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")
But I thought they had run out of virgins.
Clinton, B said we should have a dialogue with them.
Issue a call for murder, we'll take you out. End of fatwas.
Any and all fatwas should be countered with a bounty against the issuing idiot(s).
Hit contracts = criminal organization. Can't think of any other traditional religion that puts out a hit on the opposition. The thuggee, perhaps, in India, but the Brits took care of them. A whole lot of insecure in the Islamic world if your god isn't big enough to take care of himself.
Where's a CIA snipper when we need one?
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