"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> The NY Times has an interesting piece about the problem
> of Saudi Arabian schools "programming" their young people
> with a foundation for radical Islamic beliefs.
> October 19, 2001
> Anti-Western and Extremist Views Pervade Saudi Schools
> By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
> It makes for pretty grim reading. It suggests that many of the Saudi
> males educated over the last decade or two are prime candidates for
> being reprogrammed as assault weapons.
I find the piece curious because the last time I was in that
part of the world (admittedly over 15 years ago) most Saudi
males received a large portion of their education outside of
Saudi Arabia. At that time there was a cultural problem because
many young Saudis were quite westernized in their attitudes and
had some difficulty fitting into the life back home. Perhaps
things have changed a good deal since then?
> > "Hamoud al-Shuaibi, an elderly sheik who issued a fatwa, or religious
> > ruling, condemning the American attacks on Afghanistan, answered a
> > question on the Net about when jihad, or holy war, is permissible.
> > 'Jihad is allowed against infidels like the Jews, Christians and
> > atheists,' he answered in part."
This is not a standard Islamic answer. It is not even an
standard Wahhabi answer. It is the answer historically that
some of the Saud princes came up with but still rather twisted.
The originals were mainly into jihad against those Muslims who
did not in their view fully live the faith as they believed it
should be lived. There is also, I suspect, a difference between
"allowed" and required.
> Samantha, if you read this -- can you possibly interpret the above
> statement in any way other than "these people want you dead"?
Quite easily. As I am sure you can also with a moment or two
more of reflection.
> It would appear one of the main problems with Islam is that almost
> anyone can issue a "fatwa". The middle class Islamic people follow
> the fatwas from individuals saying Islam cannot be used to justify
> violence and the unemployed male youth of Saudi Arabia follow the
> Fatwas that drive them to migrate to Afghanistan where they can
> learn to commit "jihad" on the infidels.
Now you have spread something that is the position of some
Wahabis as being the position of Islam in general haven't you?
As far as I know, a "fatwa" is something different than a
>From Encyclopaedia of the Orient
Fatwa is a legal statement in Islam, issued by a mufti or a
lawyer, on a specific issue.
Fatwas are asked for by judges or individuals, and are
in cases where a issue of fiqh is undecided or uncertain.
can be settled on the basis of a fatwa.
It is vital that a fatwa is not based upon the muftis or
own will and ideas, he must render it in accordance with
Today, fatwas have limited importance in most Muslim
societies, and are normally used only in cases of marriage,
inheritance and divorce. The importance of a fatwa depends on
its acceptance among most
people, and if people don't care about it, it is in reality
That some highly placed Muslim figures have issued fatwas
ordering execution doesn't make fatwa synonymous with such usage
and it certainly doesn't make it synonymous or even related to
" This word has been in frequent use in the Western press over
the past several years, explained directly or subtlely, to mean
war. As a matter of fact the term "holy war" was coined in
Europe during the Crusades, meaning the war against Muslims. It
does not have a counterpart in Islamic glossary, and Jihad is
certainly not its translation.
The word Jihad means striving. In its primary sense it is an
inner thing, within self, to rid it from debased actions or
and exercise constancy and perseverance in achieving a higher
moral standard. Since Islam is not confined to the boundaries of
the individual but extends to the welfare of society and
humanity in general, an individual cannot keep improving
himself/herself in isolation from what happens in their
community or in the world at large, hence the Quranic injunction
Islamic nation to take as a duty "to enjoin good and forbid
evil." (3:104) It is a duty which is not exclusive to Muslims
applies to the human race who are, according to the Quran,
God's vicegerent on earth. Muslims, however, cannot shirk it
others do. The means to fulfil it are varied, and in our modern
world encompass all legal, diplomatic, arbitrative, economic,
political instruments. But Islam does not exclude the use of
force to curb evil, if there is no other workable alternative. A
forerunner of the collective security principle and collective
intervention to stop aggression, at least in theory, as
the United Nations Charter, is the Quranic reference "..make
peace between them (the two fighting groups), but if one of the
two persists in aggression against the other, fight the
aggressors until they revert to God's commandment." (49:9)
Military action is therefore a subgroup of the Jihad and not
its totality. That was what prophet Mohammad emphasized to his
companions when returning from a military campaign, he told
them: "This day we have returned from the minor jihad (war) to
the major jihad (self-control and betterment)."
Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions and
certainly not against Christians and Jews as some media and
political circles want it to be perceived. Islam does not fight
other religions. Christians and Jews are considered as fellow
inheritors of The Abrahamic traditions by Muslims, worshipping
the same God and following the tradition of Abraham.
The rigorous criteria for a "just war" in Islam have already
been alluded to, as well as the moral and ethical constraints
should be abided by. Modern warfare does not lend itself to
those moral standards; and therefore, war should be replaced by
some other alternative for conflict resolution. An enlightened
and resolute world public opinion can overcome and subdue war
The key is a change of heart. Just as there is a constructive
role for forgiveness in interpersonal relations, so might this
possible in international relations provided justice, and not
force, is the final arbiter.
We have to acknowledge again, for the sake of honesty, that
historically all traditions, Muslim, Christian, Jew as well as
had their lapses in honestly following the valued ideals of
their religions or philosophies. We all made mistakes, and we
Muslims are no exception, and time and again religion was
exploited by ambitious tyrants or violated by ignorant mobs.
no reflection on religion, but it shows how desperately
humanity is in need of better education, more enduring concern
human dignity, rights and freedom, and vigilant pursuit of
justice, even at the price of curbing political and economic
We cannot afford to put down an entire religion and all of its
adherents as out to destroy us. It is a very dangerous thing to
do (unsurvivably so) and it is also horrifically unjust and
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