четверг, 18 сентября 2014 г.
Saudi clerics declare Isis terrorism a 'heinous crime' under sharia law
By Ian Black
Saudi Arabia’s senior clerical leadership has issued a new fatwa, or legal ruling, declaring terrorism a "heinous crime" under sharia law – part of an intensifying campaign by the conservative kingdom to undermine the legitimacy of Islamic State (Isis) insurgents in Iraq and Syria and to discourage support for the extremists.
"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. "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 clerics declared on Wednesday.
Diplomats said King Abdullah had been urging the council – the country's loyal religious establishment – to move faster to condemn terrorism and blunt the appeal of Isis after pledges by Saudi Arabia and nine other Arab states at a Jeddah conference last week with the US secretary of state, John Kerry.
Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, the Saudi interior minister, is described in Riyadh as the driving force behind a strategy in which internal security and regional policy is being more effectively coordinated.
The Saudis have signed up to use "any means necessary" to defeat Isis with the rest of the US-led coalition. Western officials have said it has offered to take part in military action, but it is more likely to play a useful role stopping the flow of funds and volunteers to the jihadi group. Saudis make up the second-largest contingent of foreign Arabs fighting with Isis.
The influence of the Sunni religious scholars is important, though some indulge in the anti-Shia sectarianism that is one of the hallmarks of a bitter conflict that is dividing the Middle East.
The Saudis have been stung by criticism that they back Isis, though analysts say that is a misreading of their disorganised financial and material support for hardline Islamists fighting to overthrow the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Still, some of those they supported did morph over time into al-Qaida-linked groups and Isis.
Having in effect defeated al-Qaida in a concerted anti-terrorist campaign in 2004, the government fears the consequences of fighters returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq and the enthusiasm they command at home. Even Saudis who oppose Isis for its brutality see it as a successful Sunni fightback against Shia oppression, especially in Iraq.
The extent of Saudi alarm about the jihadi group has been clear for months. In February, the king ordered prison terms for people supporting extremist organisations or travelling abroad to fight.
In recent weeks alleged terrorist supporters have been rounded up regularly. In early September the interior ministry announced the arrest of 88 people, days after an imam was jailed for glorifying al-Qaida and the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The kingdom's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh, has said that under sharia law terrorists merit the punishment of execution followed by the public display of the body as a deterrent.