Some of the critics of the list of things that offend Muslims have claimed that a similar list could be made about Christians, Jews etc...But like this story, the Danish cartoons and Salman Rushdie, an offended Islam responds with fatwas calling for death. Wiki defines a fatwa.
According to the Usul al-fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence), the fatwa must meet the following conditions in order to be valid:
- The fatwa is in line with relevant legal proofs, deduced from Qur'anic verses and hadiths; provided the ahadith was not later abrogated by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
- It is issued by a person (or a board) having due knowledge and sincerity of heart;
- It is free from individual opportunism, and not depending on political servitude;
- It is adequate with the needs of the contemporary world.
That means this fatwa, calling for the death of two writers for suggesting that Muslims are free to explore other religions, is...
- Legal and in accordance with Islamic law
- Issued by with knowledge of the Quran and is following it's intent with sincerity.
- Not acting politically
- Is deemed to be within the needs of the modern world.
By issuing his fatwa, remember that Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak is doing so from the strictest authority as defined by his own faith, and he has determined that death penalty is in adherence with #4.
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was responding to recent articles in al-Riyadh newspaper that questioned the Sunni Muslim view in Saudi Arabia that adherents of other faiths should be considered unbelievers.
"Anyone who claims this has refuted Islam and should be tried in order to take it back. If not, he should be killed as an apostate from the religion of Islam," said the fatwa, or religious opinion, dated March 14 and published on Barrak's Web site.
"It is disgraceful that articles containing this kind of apostasy should be published in some papers of Saudi Arabia, the land of the two holy shrines," he said, referring to Muslim holy places in Mecca and Medina.
"The rulers should hold these papers to account ... and all those who took part in the publication should know they were involved in the sin of heretical articles."
Barrak, who is thought to be around 75, is viewed by Islamists as the leading independent authority of Saudi Arabia's hardline version of Sunni Islam, often termed Wahhabism.
He said the articles suggested Muslims were free to follow other religions. Rights groups have accused Wahhabism of a xenophobic attitude which demonizes other religions.
Abdullah bin Bejad al-Otaibi, one of the two writers, said he feared for his life and called on the government to intervene. The second writer was Yousef Aba al-Khail. Read more.