Despite opposition from the usual alphabet soup of Muslim Brotherhood-offshoot “advocacy” groups in the U.S., Congressman Peter King is forging ahead with planned mid-March hearings on what he terms domestic “Muslim radicalization.” In a December 19, 2010 Newsday editorial Congressman King cited these eminently reasonable concerns as justification for the hearings:
As I became more immersed in attempting to unravel the radical Islamic threat to our nation and our civilization, it became more and more obvious to me that the moral myopia of Long Island’s Muslim leaders and their apologists in the media was the rule — and that there were few exceptions. Federal and local law enforcement officials throughout the country told me they received little or — in most cases — no cooperation from Muslim leaders and imams …. I also know of imams instructing members of their mosques not to cooperate with law enforcement officials investigating the recruiting of young men in their mosques as suicide bombers. We need to find the reasons for this alienation.
We believe direct cross-examination of clerics from the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), including a frank discussion of their public “fatwas” (Islamic religious rulings), is essential to the congressman’s critically important goal of understanding Muslim radicalization in America.
The AMJA mission statement maintains:
[The AMJA was] founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. … AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities.
A report in The Muslim Observer published October 21, 2010, highlighting AMJA’s “seventh annual American conference of imams,” confirms that the organization is accepted as such by the mainstream American Muslim community. AMJA and its recent “training” conference for American imams were described in these banal terms:
The organization AMJA (Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America) has a list of scholars associated with it which stretches from Al-Azhar University to Virginia’s Open University, and back across the ocean to the professors at Saudi universities. Its website, amjaonline.com, provides fatawa on many issues and promises 24-hour access to scholars who can give legal opinions on the issues people face. AMJA focuses on providing fatwas to Americans, and believes it is able to provide culturally appropriate fatwas although many of their scholars are not American–because they have some American scholars and because of the technological ties that bind AMJA’s American scholars with those abroad. AMJA just had, in Houston, its seventh annual American conference of imams, and two local Michigan imams attended, namely Imam Musa of Bloomfield’s Muslim Unity Center, and Imam Ali of MCWS. Mr. Sadiqul Hassan of AMJA explained that “the event was the 7th annual imam workshop.” Mr. Hassan said that AMJA is “a fiqh council basically,” with “scholars who live abroad and inside the U.S.; we have experts in different fields to educate about life in the U.S. — fatwa are based on life in the U.S.”
Notwithstanding this mainstream acceptance, including uncritical endorsement of its recent seventh annual American conference in Houston (October 15-18, 2010) to train American imams, AMJA has issued rulings which sanction the killing of apostates, “blasphemers” (including non-Muslims guilty of this “crime”), or adulterers (by stoning to death), and condone marital rape and female genital mutilation. Moreover, AMJA, despite some equivocation, has also issued a blatantly anti-American fatwa directed at U.S. troops and their mission, which was deemed an “occupation.” Indeed, as AMJA cleric Katem Al-Hajj explained in a 23 page 2007 fatwa forbidding U.S. Muslims to work for the FBI or U.S. security services because of the ostensible harm these institutions cause Muslims, Muslim minorities in non-Islamic countries are “subject to man-made laws, which Islamic law [Sharia] does not recognize, either fully or in part.”
AMJA — consistent with modern fatwas published by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), and other prominent, mainstream Muslim clerics in Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, and Malaysia — has mandated lethal punishment for apostates from Islam. These specific rulings on so-called “apostasy” from Islam were issued by AMJA in 2006 and 2009:
Dr. Hatem al-Haj 2006-04-17 As for the Sharia ruling, it is the punishment of killing for the man with the grand Four Fiqh Sharia scholars, and the same with the woman with the major Shari`ah scholars, and she is jailed with Al-Hanafiyyah scholars, as the prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: “Whoever a Muslim changes his/her religion, kill him/her”, and his saying: “A Muslim`s blood, who testifies that there is no god except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is not made permissible except by three reasons: the life for the life; the married adulterer and the that who abandons his/her religion.”
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah 2009-01-02 Under the authority of the Muslim state, the People of the Book have the right to stay on their belief without being compelled to embrace Islam. But if one of them has embraced Islam, it would not be acceptable from him to go back to his original religion. The same rule applies to those who are born into Muslim families. According to the Islamic Law, they cannot commit apostasy.
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah 2009-04-10 As for the second one, the “people” in this hadith means either the apostates who had become Muslim and then retreated to disbelief thereafter, or the polytheists who do not attribute themselves to any divine religion. This second possible meaning has been mentioned in Imam Al-Nasa’i’s narration: “I have been commanded to fight against the polytheists until they … ” In Islam, neither of these categories of people is allowed to remain on their religion. The fact that there is no compulsion in religion does not negate the other fact that someone who has embraced Islam cannot change his mind afterward and embrace polytheism.
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah 2007-07-22, on “Unbelievers,” i.e. non-Muslims: Our belief is that Islam is the final divine religion, supersedes all other divine religions, and that all other religions are abrogated by the prophet hood of Mohammad PBUH. In another words; no one has the right to stay on his/her Christianity or Judaism after the prophecy of Mohammad PBUH. Based on the above, if any one from the people of scriptures has received the message of Islam clearly, yet, insisted on his belief, then he is — from an Islamic perspective — a disbeliever. Our doctrine is that paradise is granted for all original Muslims, and for those who embraced Islam after acknowledging the prophecy of Mohammad PBUH. Meanwhile, we believe that hellfire is granted for the disbelievers, which include anyone did not believe in the prophethood of the messenger that he/she lived during his/her life. This includes anyone that received the message of Islam, and passed away before embracing Islam.
Dr. Salah Al-Sawy 2009-01-21, on “Blaspheming” Muhammad, the Muslim prophet:
[F]or those scholars who say that repentance of a person who insults Allaah or His Messenger shall not accepted, [they] mean that repentance does not lift up the set punishment for cursing and insulting the Prophet, i.e., execution. Because the Prophet is the one who was actually wronged and insulted and he is no longer alive, therefore, he is not alive to practice his right to forgive him [the blasphemer] for what he did. Also, no Muslim is ever is entitled or authorized to forgive on the Prophet’s behalf.
Rendered by Dr. Hatem al-Hajj, June 22, 2006 — Question: “I am married but recently being away on a business trip, I happed to go to a adult club where I came in close contact with a dancer. We touched each other and kissed but there was no actual intercourse involved. I remain fully clothed and she had her top off. Is this act considered zina punishable by pelting? Please clarify. I shouldn`t have commited this act of sin and am ashamed of it.” Fatwa (Islamic Legal Ruling): “All praise be to Allah, and may his peace and blessings be on the last and best prophet and messenger, Muhammad. Since you are ashamed and you have repented sincerely, Allah is all forgiving, so don`t loose hope in his mercy and forgiveness. The act you have committed — as you appear to know — is an offensive sin, and it is a form of fornication, as the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) indicated that the eyes comit fornication by looking … etc. Yet, it is not the absolute zina punishable by al-hadd. (The prescribed punishment of zina, which is stoning in the case of a married man). The later must involve intercourse. May Allah protect you, and save your deen and honor. Allah knows best.”
Responding to the specific query: “Is there a such thing as Marital Rape?” AMJA issued fatwa #2982:
In the name of Allah, all praise is for Allah, and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family. To proceed: For a wife to abandon the bed of her husband without excuse is haram [forbidden]. It is one of the major sins and the angels curse her until the morning as we have been informed by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). She is considered nashiz (rebellious) under these circumstances. As for the issue of forcing a wife to have sex, if she refuses, this would not be called rape, even though it goes against natural instincts and destroys love and mercy, and there is a great sin upon the wife who refuses; and Allah Almighty is more exalted and more knowledgeable.
AMJA rulings also support the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), which the United Nations has called “a dangerous and potentially life-threatening procedure that causes unspeakable pain and suffering.” Fatwa #1639 from Dr. Hatem al-Haj justifies the horrific practice, saying:
Some extremists from the west and their devout followers in the Muslim world like to brand all circumcision as female genital mutilation (FGM). For those, we say, why is male circumcision not MGM? Male circumcision is widely practiced in the west. Yet it would be considered by the Chinese MGM (Male Genital Mutilation).
The benefits of male circumcision are beginning to be more recognized in the medical societies, even though still contested by a few. Fifty years ago, no one knew that male circumcision has medical benefits. The same could be true with female circumcision. They may figure out the benefits of the practice in fifty or five hundred years.
A concordant fatwa issued in Arabic (translation by Al-Mutarjim) on the website of the secretary-general of AMJA and the chief member of its Resident Fatwa Committee, Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, declares that FGM is “an honor” for women:
But for the woman, the purpose [of circumcision] is the benefit that it has in lessening her lust, which is a wholesome request. There is no harm in removing it. In short, female circumcision is an honor (which) does not rise to the level of a duty, in clear language. Stated another way, it is neither forbidden nor required.
Another Arabic-language fatwa (translation by Al-Mutarjim) from Dr. Al-Sawy leaves open the possibility for offensive jihad against America and the West, as soon as Muslims are strong enough to do so. When asked whether “the Islamic missionary effort in the West … [was] to the point where it could take advantage of offensive jihad,” Al-Sawy ruled:
The Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time. With our current capabilities, we are aspiring toward defensive jihad, and to improve our position with regards to jurisprudence at this stage. But there is a different discussion for each situation. Allah Almighty knows best.
Finally, it is of grave concern that AMJA, as an American organization, offers only grudging and conditional support to the fundamental notions of acquiring citizenship in, and swearing allegiance to, the U.S. and our Sharia-antithetical governing legal system. Responding to the query: “Is acquiring an American citizenship lawful or prohibited?” AMJA issued fatwa #77223:
As for optionally obtaining citizenship of a non-Muslim country it is definitely prohibited without a doubt, moreover it could be a form of apostasy or main means leading to apostasy because willingly accepting the laws of disbelievers and obeying it without any valid excuse or enforcement, or ignorance is considered a nullifier to Tawheed and Islam, as long as the proof has been established upon this person and the matter and its consequences are as I clarified. As for obtaining citizenships in light of circumstances of Muslims today who are residing outside the lands of Islam — on the condition that they do not accept indefinitely the law and legislation of that country and being indefinite belonging to the nation of the non-Muslim country so that they become loyal to all their allies and an enemy to all their enemies — and obtaining the citizenship is considered a required means in order to organize the affairs of Muslims who already live there while ensuring fulfilling vows and agreements between them and host countries, and exists due to urgent necessities and needs and this Muslim kept his loyalty to Allaah and His Messenger, then it would not be farfetched to say that it would be permissible.
Given these odious, if unabashed public rulings, it is incumbent upon Representative King and his committee staff to subpoena (if necessary) the AMJA clerics who have issued them. We believe that publicizing and elaborating the “rationalizations” for such Islamic rulings by these clerics — authoritative representatives of mainstream, institutional Islam — will afford critical insights into the radicalization of American Muslims.