05/13/2004: As you listen to/read your favorite right-wing talking head....
remember this: Muslim Authorities Condemn Berg Killing (thanks to Prof. Juan Cole for this reference):
Muslim authorities at al-Azhar Seminary, the preeminent center of learning for Sunni Islam, vehemently condemned the brutal murder of Nick Berg by terrorists in Iraq, according to Sobhy Mujahid.There is a small nit I'd pick with this analogy. If a set of high-ranking cardinals in the Vatican condemned something unreservedly, but the Pope remained silent, one might be justified in stating that the Church remained silent, insofaras the Pope is the head of the Church and, rightly or wrongly, seen as The Official Spokesman for the Church when he elects to speak. Islam has no such monarch who can speak for all of Islam. But his basic point is well taken. When the talking heads condemn the Muslim world for failing to condemn Berg's murder, you should know they're blowing it out their asses.
' "Islam respects the human being, dead or alive, and cutting off the American's head was an act of mutilation forbidden by Islam," [said] Ibrahim Al-Fayoumi, a member of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy . . . '
Sobhi adds, ' Mahmoud Emara, another member of the Academy [said] "The mutilation even of enemies is rejected by Islam. A mistake could not justify another . . . " The scholar cited the respect Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had paid to bodies in the battle of Badr when he ordered the burial of the dead irrespective of their religion. The Prophet urged his Companions on the day of Badr to be kind to their captives and treat them with clemency. '
These scholars are major voices of the Muslim mainstream. They should be listened to on such matters.
Even the much more radical Lebanese Shiite Hizbullah (Hezbollah), according to the Sydney Morning Herald, ' harshly criticised the beheading and questioned the timing of a "horrible" act which drove the torture of Iraqi prisoners by US-led forces from the headlines.
It adds, 'Ezzedine Salim, this month's chief of the Iraq Governing Council, insisted that "decapitations and mutilations are unacceptable and have nothing to do with Islam". '
Even the conservative and fundamentalist religious leaders in Iraq expressed the same sentiments.
Samir Haddad quotes Muthanna al-Dhari, secretary general of the Board of Muslim Clergy (a hardline Sunni organization that in the past has had members who stockpiled arms in mosques; it was a major mediating force at Fallujah). Al-Dhari ' strongly denounced the killing, saying it runs counter to the teachings of Islam and "does disservice to our religion and our cause." The Sunni scholar stressed this is a condemned operation whether carried out by Iraqis or non-Iraqis and whether the slain was a civilian or a military personnel.
We'll be hearing for years from the talking heads on US cable news about how the Muslim world failed to condemn what was done to Berg. It would be as though a set of high-ranking cardinals in the Vatican condemned something unreservedly and then people kept saying the Church remained silent.
Len on 05.13.04 @ 11:52 AM CST