Fatwa: PR Band-Aid for Silent Community

A group of North American Islamic clerics and organizations have finally issued a Fatwa that purports to condemn terrorism.

Eric Hogue is among many that have vocalized the questions that many of us have asked for years. Among these questions is: Why now? What does this really mean? Are they for real or just providing some positive public relations? Is this enough to satisfy you of the sincerity of the Islamic community?

Hearing the discussion on his program this morning caused a flurry of thoughts to race through my head. My first reaction was to recall many recent terror attacks in the West.
• On 9-11 did they condemn the terror? No
• Did they condemn the shoe bomber and other foiled terror plots? No
• When our troops in Iraq were attacked by suicide bombers was the terror condemned? No
• When Western civilian contractors in the Middle East were beheaded did they condemn terror? No
• When the Spanish commuter trains were bombed, did the respond? No
• When the same resorts in Egypt were bombed on two occasions killing vacationing European and Israeli tourists, did they condemn terror? No
• When the trains in London were bombed did they condemn terror? No
• When a lone US Congressman suggested that if we were nuked that an attack on Muslim holy sites should be an option, did they respond? YES

My conclusion is that either these clerics finally figured out that they have been tone deaf for four years and it has resulted in deep seated distrust of their people because they have been perpetuating extremism by their silence or the Congressman has advocated playing by their rules and got their attention.

Either way, a press release is too little, too late. These folks need to police their own if they want to stem the growing distrust that non-Muslims have for Islam. They need to backup this Fatwa with action. Turn in terrorists before they attack. Condemn every act of terror from here on out, yes, even those acts committed against Israel. If they are not with us, they are against us.

I have heard several parsing of the actual text of the Fatwa. I find little comfort in the wording because clearly it allows for killing in some unnamed circumstances. “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…”

What is just v unjust killing? Are non-believers of Islam covered by this or only other Moslems? How is “all people” defined? Is there a universal understanding or is everyone left to decide that for themselves?

I’ve been around enough theologians to know that each word was approved and no more specific than it had to be to get signers to the declaration. Unfortunately, there is enough room in this Fatwa to drive a Humvee through it without getting a scratch.

Many of the signatories of this proclamation have had ties to terror groups in the past. Are they finally seeing the light or feeling the heat? Or worse yet, are they covering their clerical butts because they know another attack is in the works in the US and they need plausible deniability?

I’m sorry fellas but you will have to backup your nice Fatwa with lots of action. As long as terrorists have aid and comfort from your community, you have not done your part. When the extremists are afraid and outcasts among your people then I will believe your polite words.