In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 10, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed a recent proclamation by Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Najaf, Iraq, as “history’s first pro-U.S. fatwa.”1 This claim was apparently drawn from an op-ed by Amir Taheri that appeared three days earlier in The Wall Street Journal, calling Sistani’s proclamation “the first pro-U.S. fatwa in modern political Islam.”2
If true, this development would support the position of American foreign-policy hawks, who argue that the active projection of U.S. power around the world, and especially in the Middle East, will help to bring political order to the world. Sistani’s fatwa, issued during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, suggests that “political Islam” will prudently retreat in the face of U.S. determination. The fatwa appears to confirm the old cliché that “they,” be they Muslims or other groups, only understand force. But Wolfowitz’s claim is not true. Sistani’s statement is not history’s first pro-U.S. fatwa. In fact, important fatwas explicitly supportive of the U.S. military have been issued during each of Wolfowitz’s two stints in the Department of Defense, one by senior Saudi Arabian religious scholars allowing U.S. troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia, and one by a variety of Middle Eastern religious scholars allowing Muslims in the U.S. armed forces to pursue the war on terrorism “against whoever their country decides has perpetrated terrorism against them.” These instances represent two sorts of pro-U.S. fatwas: those which support the United States for strategic reasons, and those which do so out of sympathy for U.S. victims of terror. A third, partially overlapping category involves Islamic statements that are pro-U.S. in a deeper sense, that of promoting values that most in the United States hold dear, such as democracy. In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, Ayatollah Sistani issued just such a fatwa, urging the popular election of the body that is scheduled to draw up Iraq’s new constitution. Wolfowitz’s blanket statement discounts this longstanding liberal tradition within Islam, at precisely the time when the “war on terrorism” makes such ideological partners indispensable.
Ironically, Sistani’s famous fatwa may not have existed. Sistani was in seclusion at the time, most probably hiding from the dangerous combination of Baathist forces, U.S. troops and Shii gangs loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, son of the late Ayatollah Muhammad al-Sadr. The elder Sadr was a long-time competitor of Sistani’s mentor and predecessor as the chief religious scholar of Najaf, Ayatollah Abul-Qasim al-Khoi; Muhammad al-Sadr, killed by the Baathist regime in 1999, favored Islamic revolution, while al-Khoi shied away from political involvement.3 As Saddam Hussein’s regime fell, Muqtada Sadr’s followers used strong-arm tactics to threaten rivals, going so far as to stab al-Khoi’s son Abdul-Majid at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, drag him to Muqtada Sadr’s home for a verdict, then shoot him dead.4
Sistani, like Khoi, is not politically outspoken. Indeed, it was strange for Taheri to associate him with “modern political Islam” given his political disengagement. But Saddam Hussein’s end game allowed for no disengaged bystanders. On March 13, 2003, Sistani and other leading Shii religious scholars issued fatwas that were publicized by the Iraqi state. “It is the duty of Muslims at these critical conditions to unify their word and do everything in their power to defend dear Iraq and protect it against the schemes of the covetous enemies,” Sistani’s fatwa began. “The Iraqis, people and leadership, will certainly stand united, supporting one another, against any aggression. They will resist this aggression using all their power, and they will frustrate the hopes of the aggressors with the help of God Almighty.”5
On April 3, 2003, Sistani allegedly reversed this position.6 The al-Khoi Foundation in London announced that it had received unconfirmed information that Sistani “asks the Iraqi people to keep silent and not resist the forces. Some sources say the forces he meant are the coalition forces. If the coalition forces are in Al-Najaf, the ayatollah does not want blood to be shed, and Al-Najaf inhabitants should remain in their houses until things are clarified.”7 The same day, the U.S. Army announced the news at a briefing at Central Command headquarters at Camp Al-Sayliyah near Doha, Qatar:
In the wake of yesterday’s operations near Najaf and [inaudible] operations to date, a prominent cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who had been placed under house arrest by the regime for a considerable period of time, issued a fatwa. And it was done this morning, instructing the population to remain calm and to not interfere with coalition actions. We believe this is a very significant turning point, and yet another indicator that the Iraqi regime is approaching its end.8
Taheri claimed to have gotten confirmation of the fatwa from Sistani himself via satellite telephone.9 Yet no text of the fatwa has been published, and Sistani apparently signed a statement denying that he issued such a fatwa.10 A pop-up window on his official website rejected “anything said by the Western press agencies” about the supposed fatwa,11 and his son, Sayyid Muhammad Rida, denied its existence.12
Interestingly, Muhammad Bakr alHakim, leader of the Iran-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) in Iraq, did indeed make a statement to the same effect, with little publicity: “Now Iraqis are caught between Saddam Hussein’s forces and the occupation forces. This is why I urge all Iraqis not to get involved in the fighting. They should not side either with Saddam’s forces or with the U.S.-led forces.”13 This message was not relayed at a CENTCOM press briefing, perhaps because al-Hakim’s next sentence was a threat to “resist [American] hegemony by all means possible,” should U.S. forces stay in Iraq. But even clearer pro-U.S. fatwas can be found in recent history. One need only look back to the previous Gulf War.
When Iraqi troops overran Kuwait on August 2, 1990, Saudi Arabia may have been the next target. Regardless of Saddam Hussein’s actual intentions, the Saudi monarchy felt threatened enough to invite U.S. forces to serve as a deterrent.14 At the same time, the Saudi monarchy appears to have worried that the presence of non-Muslim soldiers could, in unsympathetic eyes, be viewed as incompatible with the regime’s self-proclaimed responsibility to protect the two holy mosques, the foundational sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina. King Fahd and other Saudi leaders convinced Shaykh Abd alAziz Bin Baz, chairman of the Supreme Council of Ulama (religious scholars), to issue a fatwa in support of the regime’s decision.15 Bin Baz and his colleagues did so. Given the need to defend the nation
by all possible means . . . the Supreme Council of Ulama supports what was undertaken by the ruler, may God grant him success: the bringing of forces equipped with instruments capable of frightening and terrorizing the one who wanted to commit an aggression against this country. This duty is dictated by necessity in the current circumstances, and made inevitable by the painful reality, and its legal basis and evidence dictates that the man in charge of the affairs of Muslims should seek the assistance of one who has the ability to attain the intended aim. The Quran and the Prophet’s Sunna (activities and statements) have indicated the need to be ready and take precautions before it is too late.16
The Saudis also solicited support from the Muslim World League, which gathered 350 Islamic scholars in Jeddah in early September 1990. After bus tours of Mecca and Medina showing visitors that non-Muslim troops were not stationed in these hallowed sites, the League issued a statement that backed the Saudi decision as a temporary, emergency measure.17
When Operation Desert Shield was transformed into Operation Desert Storm, switching from defense of Saudi Arabia to the reinstatement of the al-Sabah monarchy in Kuwait, Bin Baz again issued a supportive fatwa: “The jihad that is taking place today against the enemy of God, Saddam, the ruler of Iraq, is a legitimate jihad on the part of Muslims and those assisting them,” Bin Baz stated. “For he has wrongly transgressed and committed aggression against and invaded a peaceful country. Therefore it is obligatory to wage jihad against him to expel him unconditionally from Kuwait, to assist the oppressed, to restore justice and to deter the oppressor.”18 Bin Baz was later promoted to chief mufti (religious official) of the monarchy, no doubt in part for his supporting the monarchy’s alliance with the United States.19
Bin Baz’s support for alliance with non-Muslims was a departure from his usual position that Muslims should avoid working or socializing with non-Muslims. In a series of statements on proper personal conduct, Bin Baz quoted Quranic Sura 3, Verse 118, described in the English version of Bin Baz’s collected fatwas as: “O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you.”20 (A more common approach considers this and similar verses to refer only to enemies in times of war.)21 Even more to the point, in response to a question about non-Muslim guest workers in Arabia, Bin Baz argued that their presence posed “a great danger,” both to Muslim control of the central lands of Islam and to the personal faith of individual Muslims, who might grow to “become close to them [the non-Muslims] and rely upon them,” or even “claim, due to the whisperings of Satan to him [the Muslim], that they are our brothers in humanity. This is not correct, for brotherhood in faith is the true brotherhood, and as long as there is a difference in religion, there can be no brotherhood.” Bin Baz quoted a statement of the Prophet Muhammad: “Verily, I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, until I leave none but Muslims.”22
Radical Islamists in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim societies shared these reservations and assailed Bin Baz for his pro-U.S. fatwas.23 Osama bin Laden, for example, insulted Bin Baz on a regular basis, calling him “weak and soft” and easily influenced by the “false information” provided to him by the Saudi regime. Among Bin Baz’s mistakes was his fatwa “to permit entry into the country of the two sacred mosques to the modern-day crusaders under the rule of necessity.”24 Bin Laden’s fatwa of 1998, calling for a worldwide jihad against Jews and Crusaders, opened with a denunciation of “the crusader armies spreading in [the Arabian Peninsula] like locusts . . . plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.”25
From the beginning, U.S. policy makers recognized the Saudi monarchy’s vulnerability on this issue. Wolfowitz, then undersecretary of defense for policy and working to coordinate arms sales to Saudi Arabia, said as much at the time:
We are fully aware of the difficulties that any long-term military presence could cause for us, and even more for the countries of the region. . . . The political sensitivities and the wishes of those countries currently hosting allied forces will largely determine the framework of future defense arrangements.26
This was not the first time that Muslims had chosen to ally themselves with the United States for strategic reasons. Among the precedents are Arabs in World War I (with Britain), Malays in World War II, Turks in the Korean War, numerous peoples in the Cold War, and virtually every Muslim-majority country in the first Gulf War, always with the support of at least some religious authorities. Muslims have allied themselves with the United States in peacemaking as well as warmaking, for example through the fatwa issued by religious scholars at al-Azhar supporting the Camp David accord between Egypt and Israel engineered by the United States.27
SYMPATHY FOR VICTIMS OF TERROR
It seems to be common for educated Americans to wonder, in conversation with Middle East specialists, why so few Muslims spoke out to condemn the terrorist murders of September 11, 2001. Such comments overlook the huge number of public condemnations by Muslims from around the world. To take a single example, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a religious scholar in Qatar who is one of the most influential Islamic thinkers in the world, issued a strongly worded statement two days later:
Our hearts bleed for the attacks that have targeted the World Trade Center as well as other institutions in the United States, despite our strong opposition to the biased American policy towards Israel on the military, political and economic fronts. Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin. This is backed by the Quranic verse which reads: “Whosoever kills a human being [as punishment] for [crimes] other than manslaughter or [sowing] corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (Sura 5, Verse 32).28
Three days later, Qaradawi applied similar reasoning in a fatwa declaring it impermissible for Muslims to participate in a possible U.S. war on Afghanistan: The government and people of Afghanistan were innocent of any crime against the United States, and therefore should not be subject to attack.29
Qaradawi soon made it clear that this reasoning did not apply to Muslim Americans. A fatwa of September 27, 2001, jointly signed by Qaradawi and five other leading Islamic scholars, is perhaps the most straightforwardly pro-U.S. fatwa in history. The scholars were responding to a query from the senior Muslim “chaplain” in the U.S. military regarding “the permissibility of Muslim military personnel in the U.S. armed forces to participate in the war operations and its related efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in other Muslim countries.” The response quoted once again from Sura 5, Verse 32, calling the attacks of September 11 an instance of “sowing corruption on earth.”
Therefore, we find it necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and punished appropriately, so that it could act as a deterrent to them and to others like them who easily slay the lives of innocents, destroy properties and terrorize people. Hence, it is a duty on Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means, in accordance with God’s (Most High) saying: “And help one another in virtue and righteousness, but do not help one another in sin and transgression” (Quran, Sura 5, Verse 2).
American Muslim soldiers may feel some “uneasiness . . . in fighting other Muslims,” but they should overcome this feeling. [In a]
situation where a Muslim is a citizen of a state and a member of a regular army . . . he has no choice but to follow orders, otherwise his allegiance and loyalty to his country could be in doubt. This would subject him to much harm since he would not enjoy the privileges of citizenship without performing its obligations.
The Muslim soldier must suffer “personal discomfort” in order to achieve a greater good: “to prevent aggression on the innocents, or to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.” The fatwa concluded:
To sum up, it is acceptable God willing for the Muslim American military personnel to partake in the fighting in the upcoming battles, against whoever their country decides has perpetrated terrorism against them.30
This fatwa was covered widely in the U.S. media,31 but many similar statements were not. For example, leaders of Islamist movements in six countries, including the head of Hamas, joined with 40 other Muslim scholars and politicians to state that they were
horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States, which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam, which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Quran: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Surah al-Isra 17:15).32
Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide of the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, told reporters that he was “horrified” by these “barbaric . . . crimes”: “Besides the fact that they are forbidden by Islam, these acts do not serve those who carried them out but their victims, who will reap the sympathy of the whole world. . . . Islamists who live according to the human values of Islam could not commit such crimes.”33 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme jurist-ruler, equated September 11 with atrocities against Muslim and other civilians around the world:
Killing of people, in any place and with any kinds of weapons, including atomic bombs, long-range missiles, biological or chemical weapons, passenger or war planes, carried out by any organization, country or individuals is condemned. . . . It makes no difference whether such massacres happen in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Qana, Sabra, Shatila, Deir Yassin, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or in New York and Washington.34
Shaykh Omar Bakri, leader of al-Mushaira, an Islamist movement based in London, said in an interview, “If Islamists did it, and most likely it is Islamists because of the nature of what happened, then they have fully misunderstood the teachings of Islam. Even the most radical of us have condemned this. I am always considered to be a radical in the Islamic world, and even I condemn it.”35
These quotations come from Islamists who scorn U.S. foreign policy and social degeneracy, who embrace the idea of an Islamic state, who favor armed revolution against one or more Middle Eastern governments, and who support terrorism, though they reject the application of the term, against Israeli civilians. Even these people issued pro-U.S. fatwas out of sympathy for the victims of September 11, 2001.
Less revolutionary Islamic scholars were equally outspoken, as exemplified in statements by leading religious figures in four Middle Eastern countries: Shaykh Muhammad Sayyid al-Tantawi, imam of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, told congregants, “Attacking innocent people is not courageous, it is stupid and will be punished on the day of judgment. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians.”36 Abdulaziz bin Abdallah Alesha, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a statement calling the attacks “a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts.”37 President Muhammad Khatami of Iran said the attacks “can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.”38 Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, issued this statement: “Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.”39
In addition, numerous lay Muslims added their voices of sympathy, people without extensive formal Islamic education and therefore technically unqualified to issue a fatwa. The dramatic growth of modern educational institutions in Muslim societies over the past generation has created a boom in do-it-yourself theology and jurisprudence, not all of it pro-Western (Bin Laden, for example, was trained in civil engineering).40 Ziauddin Sardar, the British Muslim author, sought to reclaim the fatwa for antiterrorist purposes in the weeks after September 11:
A fatwa is simply a legal opinion based on religious reasoning. It is the opinion of one individual and is binding on only the person who gives it. But, since the Rushdie affair, it has come to be associated in the West solely with a death sentence. Now that Islam has become beset with the fatwa culture, it becomes necessary for moderate voices to issue their own fatwas.
So, let me take the first step. To Muslims everywhere I issue this fatwa: Any Muslim involved in the planning, financing, training, recruiting, support or harboring of those who commit acts of indiscriminate violence against persons or the apparatus or infrastructure of states is guilty of terror and no part of the Ummah. It is the duty of every Muslim to spare no effort in hunting down, apprehending and bringing such criminals to justice.41
Of course, sympathy for the United States evaporated relatively quickly. Qaradawi and other Islamists took the invasion of Afghanistan as proof of the incorrigible U.S. hostility toward Islam. (Qaradawi’s website does not include his fatwa on Muslim-American soldiers.) Sardar and other progressives returned to their critique of superpower unilateralism, as evidenced most recently by the invasion of Iraq.42 But for a moment, the airwaves and cyberspace were full of pro-U.S. fatwas.
Beyond the fatwas supporting U.S. military objectives lies a century-long tradition of liberal Islamic activism that has generated fatwas and other statements that are “pro-U.S.” in the broader sense of promoting values that many Americans share. In the first years of the twentieth century, for example, a wave of prodemocracy movements shook the Islamic world, complete with supportive fatwas from leading religious scholars of the day. From Najaf, then part of the Ottoman Empire, Sistani’s precursors, Kazim Khurasani and Abdullah Mazandarani, telegraphed their judgments on the Iranian Constitutional Revolution: “We would like to know if it would be possible to execute Islamic provisions without a constitutional regime!”43 In Istanbul, Mehmed Cemaleddin Efendi, the chief religious authority of the Ottoman Empire, said that he too supported elections and parliamentary government.44 Cemaleddin’s successor, Musa Kazim, issued a statement hailing “the fundamental principles that form the bases for humanity and civilization – principles such as consultation, equality, freedom and justice . . . [as] a legal right granted by God 1300 years ago to Muslims and all human beings.”45
The United States was not a major player in the Middle East at that time, but its representatives in the region recognized these movements as “pro U.S.,” to use the anachronistic phrase. “The further development of this struggle will naturally attract the interest and sympathy of the friends of liberty throughout the world,” wrote the U.S. ambassador to Iran, even though he expected that “the Mullahs or Mohammedan priests who stand with the reformers or revolutionists in the recent agitation and whose influence gained the victory for that party, will soon return to their traditional support of autocratic ideas.”46 The U.S. consul-general in the Ottoman Empire waxed enthusiastic about the commercial possibilities for Americans:
If the present revolution brings about a good government in Turkey, as it seems likely to, at least eventually, this country will be one of the best places for commerce of all kinds in the world. . . . It will be especially good for Americans because we have never had ambitions here and have never been in the European “Concert.”47
American sympathy did not, however, produce any material or diplomatic support from Washington when reactionaries and militarists undid these new democracies.
The liberal movement in Islam has continued through the ensuing century, expressing values parallel to Western liberal ideals, including freedom of thought and equal rights for women and minorities.48 These ideals are not necessarily expressed in Western terms and do not always identify themselves as “liberal,” since this word is associated in many parts of the world with the hypocrisy of the European colonizers who introduced it. Nonetheless, whether in a Western idiom or in Islamic terms, it has become quite common for Muslim thinkers to express serious concern for these issues. Even radicals such as Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi of Pakistan began to adopt the discourse of liberalism.49
For example, democracy movements in many Muslim societies now have significant Islamic components. In 1991, the main Islamic party in Algeria spearheaded the country’s move toward multi-party elections, which it won decisively before the military annulled the results. Later in the 1990s, the main Islamic party in Turkey came to support calls for the demilitarization of politics, the enactment of human rights protection, and the push to join the European Union. Islamic scholars are now among the most outspoken proponents of democratization in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia participated actively in that country’s transition to democracy. A significant Islamic party in Malaysia moved from radicalism to pro-democracy activism, as did the main Islamic movement in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Indeed, in Egypt, a younger generation of Muslim Brotherhood cadres has left the organization to set up an explicitly prodemocracy party, the Wasat (Centrist) party, which the regime apparently considers threatening enough to block from registering as a legal party.
Ayatollah Sistani, for all his reticence to engage in politics, has joined the voices for democracy in Iraq. Eleven weeks after the U.S. occupation of Baghdad, he issued a fatwa calling elections the sole source of legitimacy for the selection of a Constituent Assembly that will write a new constitution for Iraq: “First, general elections must be held so that each and every eligible Iraqi voter may choose his representative to a Constituent Assembly that would be assigned the task of drafting the constitution. Then the constitution that would be endorsed by this council will be put to a general vote.” Only electoral representation, Sistani argued, can “guarantee that this council will draft a constitution that is in harmony with the higher interests of the Iraqi people and truly represents their national identity, the basic pillars of which are the true Islamic religion and the noble social values.”50
This fatwa, while consistent with U.S. values of democracy and self-determination, was at the same time hostile to U.S. policies. Sistani’s statement said that “occupation officials do not have the authority to appoint members of the constitution drafting committee” and that American plans to appoint this committee are “fundamentally unacceptable.”51 L. Paul Bremer III, the interim ruler of Iraq, replied in a press conference that he sympathized with Sistani’s concerns but was proceeding with his plan for an appointed constitutional convention.52 The irony is clear: the liberal Islamic position adheres more to U.S. values than U.S. policies do.
Some officials in the Bush administration have gone out of their way to acknowledge and praise liberal trends within Islam. Just days after September 11, 2001, the president visited the Islamic Center in Washington, DC, to demonstrate the distinction between Islam and terrorism. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace,” the president said, presenting the incongruous sight of a born again Christian assessing what the “true faith of Islam” consists of.53 Wolfowitz, too, spoke publicly about “Islam’s tradition of tolerance and moderation” in May 2002:
I recently asked for some information about leading liberal Islamic thinkers, who they are, and what they are saying. I received a memo that contained some promising and useful information. It described in detail several Muslim thinkers who are arguing for freedom of thought, a democratic and humanist Muslim state, a modern liberal interpretation of the Koran. It was heartening to see such a good analysis. What was disheartening, was the fact that this memo was several years old. If the most recent memo we have on these brave advocates of freedom of thought dates back to the 1990s, someone must have decided that these people aren’t very important. But they are extremely important, not just to the Arab world, but to us as well. They are essential to bridging the dangerous gap between the West and the Muslim world.54
Somebody needs to update the Defense Department’s information on liberal Islamic thought, so that Wolfowitz does not disregard it in future congressional testimony, as he did on April 10, 2003. Ignoring America’s potential allies in the “war on terrorism” handicaps “homeland security” and helps to turn theories of civilizational conflict into self-fulfilling prophecy.
1 Paul Wolfowitz, “Prepared Statement for the Senate Armed Services Committee: The Future of NATO and Iraq,” April 10, 2003, http://www.defense.gov/speeches/2003/sp20030410-depsecdef0142.html.
2 Amir Taheri, “Shiite Schism” (op-ed), The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2003, p. A26.
3 Ferhad Ibrahim, Konfessionalismus und Politik in der arabischen Welt: Die Schiiten im Irak (Confessionalism and Politics in the Arab World: The Shiis in Iraq) (Münster, Germany: Lit, 1997), pp. 282-283.
4 Eyewitness accounts quoted in Newsweek, May 19, 2003, p. 32; and Trudy Rubin, “Murder of Shiite Cleric an Ominous Sign for Iraq,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2003, p. A27.
5 Iraqi News Agency website, March 13, 2003, translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring.
6 Oddly, Taheri wrote two weeks earlier that Sistani and Ayatollah Muhammad Shirazi in Qom, Iran, had already issued fatwas supporting not just neutrality but “alliance with ‘the Americans infidel’ to get rid of Saddam.” Amir Taheri, “Meanwhile, in Teheran,” The Jerusalem Post, March 21, 2003, p. 9A. This claim cannot be reconciled with Taheri’s later claim that Sistani’s early April pronouncement was “the first pro-U.S. fatwa in modern political Islam.”
7 Al-Khoi Foundation spokesman Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, on Al-Jazeera Television (Doha, Qatar), April 3, 2003, 16:20 Greenwich Mean Time, translated by BBC Monitoring.
8 Army Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, CENTCOM deputy director of operations, Central Command Briefing Transcript, April 3, 2003, CENTCOM headquarters at Camp Al-Sayliyah near Doha, Qatar, on-line at U.S. Department of State, Public Diplomacy Query Archive, http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pdq/ wfarchive.htm, file RDBAFM_ODBC://PDQ_English_Public_Current/03040304.ntd.
9 Taheri, “Shiite Schism,” p. A26.
10 Abdul Raheem Ali, “Al-Sistani Denies Fatwa Not To Resist Invasion,” IslamOnline.net, April 4, 2003, http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-04/04/article02.shtml.
11 Pepe Escobar, “Shiites on the March to Karbala,” Asia Times, April 22, 2003, http://www.atimes.com/ atimes/Middle_East/ED22Ak03.html. A month later, I can find no such pop-up box at http://www.sistani.org, operated from Qom, Iran, or http://www.najaf.org, operating from London; perhaps it was removed.
12 Interview with al-Mustaqbal (The Future; Beirut, Lebanon), May 28, 2003, pp. 1, 16, http:// www.almustaqbal.com/Issues/AsISPDF/28-05-03/f1.html; translated at http://www.najaf.org/English/Others/ Occasions/iraq4.htm.
13 Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo, Egypt), April 3-9, 2003, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/632/sc4.htm.
14 King Fahd’s meeting with U.S. officials on August 6, 1990, is described in Bob Woodward, The Commanders (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), pp. 267-273.
15 Nawaf E. Obaid, “The Power of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Leaders,” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 3, September 1999, p. 54; Joshua Teitelbaum, Holier than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition (Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Papers No. 52, 2000), p. 27.
16 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Radio, August 13, 1990, translated in BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, August 15, 1990.
17 The Washington Post, September 14, 1990, p. A23.
18 Al-Muslimun (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), January 18, 1991, reported in The New York Times, January 20, 1991, p. 18.
19 F. Gregory Gause III, Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf (New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1994), p. 15.
20 Shaykh Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz, Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaimin and Shaykh Abdullah bin Abdur-Rahman Al-Jibreen, Fatawa Islamiyah/Islamic Verdicts (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2001), Vol. 1, pp. 251-252.
21 See, for example, http://www.themodernreligion.com/basic/charac/q_rel_nonmuslims.htm, apparently written by Sidi Faraz Rabbani: “If you look at all the above verses in their proper context, you shall see that all these verses pertain to those people, whether Jews, Christians or the Polytheists of Arabia, who had come into direct or hidden confrontation with Islam and the Muslims. The Quran, in effect, has directed the Muslims that in these circumstances (of confrontation and war), they must not give away their secrets (Bitanah) to these people and must not make them friends, preferring them over the Muslims (min dunilmuminin). Obviously, the directive given in these circumstances cannot be generalized. In my opinion, therefore, under normal circumstances, there is nothing wrong with making friends and having a comfortable relationship with people of other religions. It is only when this relationship can be harmful for the Muslims, in general, that it has been prohibited.”
22 Bin Baz, et al., Fatawa Islamiyah/Islamic Verdicts, Vol. 1, pp. 260-261.
23 Mamoun Fandy, Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), pp. 61 ff; Teitelbaum, Holier than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition, pp. 28ff.
24 “Interview with Mujahid Usamah Bin Laden,” Nidaul Islam/The Call of Islam (Lakemba, Australia), No. 15, October-November 1996, http://islam.org.au/articles/15/LADIN.HTM.
25 Osama bin Laden, et al., “World Islamic Front Statement,” February 23, 1998, http://www.fas.org/irp/ world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm.
26 Paul D. Wolfowitz, “Planning Long Term Security,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, “Kuwait’s Plight and the Future Security of the Persian Gulf,” Panel 3, “Liberation and the Future of Regional Security,” transcribed by Federal News Service, December 18, 1990. See also Wolfowitz’s testimony on proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, October 4, 1990; and the Arms Control, International Security and Science Subcommittee and the Europe and Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, October 31, 1990.
27 Sabine Hartert, “Eine ägyptische Fatwa zu Camp David” (An Egyptian Fatwa on Camp David), Die Welt des Islam (The World of Islam), Vol. 22, 1982, pp. 139-142.
28 Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “D. al-Qaradawi Yudin al-Hujumat al-Irhabiyah” (Dr. al-Qaradawi Condemns the Terrorist Attacks), September 13, 2001, http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/ article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=1665&version=1&template_id=130&parent_id=17, portions translated at http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2001-09/13/article25.shtml.
29 Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “Al-Musharakah fi al-Tahaluf Maa Washintun didda Afghanistan Haram” (Participation in the Alliance with Washington Against Afghanistan Is Impermissible), September 16, 2001, http:// www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/ article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=1637&version=1&template_id=130&parent_id=17.
30 Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Judge Tariq al-Bishri, Dr. Muhammad S. al-Awa, Dr. Haytham al-Khayyat, Mr. Fahmi Houaydi and Sheikh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, September 27, 2001, Arabic original and authorized English translation posted at http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm.
31 The Washington Post, October 11, 2001, p. A22; The New York Times, October 12, 2001, p. B7; The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2001, p. A19 (article written by Daniel Pearl, who was later kidnapped and murdered by Islamic radicals in Pakistan).
32 Al-Quds al-Arabi (Arab Jerusalem; London), September 14, 2001, p. 2, translated at http:// msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/200109/20010917.15.html.
33 Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001.
34 Islamic Republic News Agency, September 16, 2001.
35 The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), September 13, 2001, p. B6.
36 Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001.
37 “Saudi Grand Mufti Condemns Terrorist Acts in U.S.,” September 15, 2001, http://saudiembassy.net/ press_release/01-spa/09-15-Islam.htm.
38 Muhammad Khatami, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, November 9, 2001, http:// www.president.ir/cronicnews/1380/8008/800818/800818.htm#b3.
39 Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, “A Message on Ragaib Night and Terrorism,” September 21, 2001, http:// www.diyanet.gov.tr/duyurular/regaibing.htm.
40 Charles Kurzman, “Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims,” Contexts, Vol. 1, No. 4, FallWinter 2002, pp. 13-20, http://www.asanet.org/contexts/vol_1-4/index.html.
41 Ziauddin Sardar, “My Fatwa on the Fanatics,” The Observer (England), September 23, 2001, http:// www.observer.co.uk/waronterrorism/story/0,1373,556636,00.html.
42 Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies, Why Do People Hate America? (New York: The Disinformation Company, 2003); Ziauddin Sardar, “Mobilising Islam Against Terror,” The Observer (England), February 16, 2003, http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,896645,00.html.
43 Abdul-Hadi Hairi, Shiism and Constitutionalism in Iran (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1977), p. 242.
44 Cemaleddin Efendi, Siyasi Hatiralar, 1908-1913 (Political Memoirs, 1908-1913) (Istanbul, Turkey: Tercüüman, 1978), pp. 43-47; M. Srüükrü Hanioglu, Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 19021908 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 489-490.
45 Musa Kazim, “The Principles of Consultation and Liberty in Islam” (1908), translated by M. Srüükrü Hanioglu in Charles Kurzman, ed., Modernist Islam, 1840-1940: A Source-Book (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 177.
46 Richmond Pearson to the U.S. Secretary of State, August 22, 1906, U.S. National Archives and Record Administration, Department of State Files, Record Group 59, Numerical and Minor Files M862, Roll 138, Case 1039/137.
47 Edward H. Ozmun to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, July 29, 1908, U.S. National Archives and Record Administration, Department of State Files, Record Group 59, Numerical and Minor Files M862, Roll 717, Case 10044/36.
48 Charles Kurzman, ed., Liberal Islam, A Source-Book (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
49 Charles Kurzman, “The Globalization of Rights in Islamic Discourse,” Islam Encountering Globalization, ed. Ali Mohammadi (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), pp. 131-155.
50 Ali Sistani, statement of June 26, 2003, http://www.najaf.org/Arabic/Others/Statements/images/iraq6.gif; translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, July 2, 2003.
51 BBC translation modified with the assistance of Juan Cole, “Informed Comment,” July 1, 2003, http:// www.juancole.com/2003_07_01_juancole_archive.html.
52 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs, Washington File, July 1, 2003, online at U.S. Department of State, Public Diplomacy Query Archive, http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pdq/wfarchive.htm, file RDBAFM_ODBC://PDQ_English_Public_Current/03070103.gne.
53 Remarks by the President at Islamic Center of Washington, DC, September 17, 2001. These and similar comments are collected at the White House’s website, http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/islam.html.
54 Paul Wolfowitz, “Bridging the Dangerous Gap between the West and the Muslim World,” Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the World Affairs Council, Monterey, California, May 3, 2002, http:// www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2002/s20020503-depsecdef.html.