Saudi Arabia’s top top religious leaders denounce terrorism

In a very interesting OpEd article in last Sunday’s “Washington Post”, David Ignatius reports that Saudi religious leaders have issued a powerful, but mostly unreported Fatwa denouncing terrorism.

The religious body issuing the Fatwa is called the Council of Senior Ulema. The Fatwa is described as being a tough condemnation of terrorism and the financing of terror – an act which some wealthy Saudis have been guilty of heretofore.

The fatwa describes criminal acts which are viewed as terroristic in nature; “blowing up of dwellings, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, airplanes (including hijacking), oil and pipelines”. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention geographcal areas.

The Council stated that it viewed the financing of terrorism as “a form of complicity to those acts”. In an interview back in May, the Secretary General of the Council said; “the financier of terrorism is more often than not, more dangerous than the actual terrorist, since without funds, schemes fail and things do not take place”.

How is the May Fatwa being received by the West? It is said that to have impressed senior U.S. military commanders and intelligence officers, who were surpised when it came out.

Whilst it is not before time, this denunciation of terrorism by senior Arab clerics is said to have already had some impact. Extremists are rectingly negatively and see the fatwa as a threat to them and their operations.

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