Former Kuwaiti Information Minister: Where are the Fatwas Against bin Laden?

The journalist and former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Dr. Sa’d Bin Tefla wrote an article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat titled “We Are All Bin Laden,” in which he criticized the Muslim nation’s equivocal stance on Osama bin Laden. The following are excerpts from the article:

Satanic Verses

“Questions are being raised concerning our stance as a nation in general, and the stance of political Islam [and] the religious parties … concerning bin Laden and the damage that he has caused to the Muslims… It is saddening to compare our stance on Salman Rushdie to our stance on Osama bin Laden.

“Does anyone among us remember Salman Rushdie? Salman Rushdie was an anonymous British author of Indian origin. In 1988 he won a prize for a vapid novel titled ‘ The Satanic Verses.’ I call it a vapid novel, since to this day I have not succeeded in finishing the book, and I do not understand its contents and its intentions, though I have a doctorate from England in English. This anonymous, stupid, or vapid author – however one may choose to describe him – became a celebrity whose name appeared frequently in our media outlets, in sermons in our mosques, in our newspapers, in our dikr clubs, [2] and in our centers for reciting the Quran.

“We rattled and sharpened all of our rhetorical sabers, our religious legal rulings [fatwa ], [alerted] our guards, our ports, our airports, and our border crossings in order to prevent his entering [our countries] and the distribution of his book, since it does damage to Islam. In all the capitals of the Islamic world protests set out for the British embassies, Salman Rushdie dolls were burnt, as were copies of his books. In one protest in Pakistan nine protestors were killed and [others] were injured by the Pakistani police…

“Religious legal rulings were disseminated one after another banning Salman Rushdie’s book and calling for him to be killed. Iran earmarked a reward of one million dollars for whoever would implement Imam Khomeini’s fatwa and kill Salman Rushdie. [3] Our impoverished publishing houses reacted by printing books and pamphlets refuting the [book’s] contents, despite the fact that it was banned in all the capitals of the Muslim world. There were those who read reactions, refutations, and rebuttals of the book without ever having read or familiarized themselves with its contents! There were those who lay in wait for Salman Rushdie in order to kill him, desiring in this way to get closer by [Rushdie’s] blood to Allah [in heaven], or out of desire for the million dollars that Iran had earmarked at the time. The British authorities raised the level of security surrounding Salman Rushdie, who became very famous on account of the fact that an entire nation had decided to assassinate him…”

Where are the Fatwas Against Bin Laden?

“Despite the fact that bin Laden murdered thousands of innocents in the name of our religion and despite the damage that he has caused to Muslims everywhere, and especially to innocent Muslims in the West whose life is much better than the life of Muslims in Islamic lands, to this date not a single fatwa has been issued calling for the killing of Bin Laden, on the pretext that Bin Laden still proclaims ‘there is no God other than Allah.’ [But] is it not the case that Napoleon repeated the same thing many times in the course of the French attack on Al-Azhar ?

“But let us put aside the [subject of the] fatwa. Have any protests been held condemning bin Laden’s actions in any of the Islamic capital cities? Perhaps there were some that demonstrated in his favor. The [Muslim] satellite stations competed amongst themselves in broadcasting his sermons and fatwas, instead of preventing their dissemination as they did in the case of Rushdie’s book. Have we earmarked a reward for anyone who kills bin Laden as we did for anyone who kills Rushdie on account of his book?

“With our equivocal stance on bin Laden we from the very start left the world with the impression that we are all bin Laden.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 11, 2004.
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