Saudi mufti: Clerics should unite in fatwa on Assad

Religious leader says by attacking civilians, Syrian regime is acting counter to Islam, assassinating Syrian president justified.

Syrian children at refugee camp in Tyre, southern Lebanon 37 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Syrian children at refugee camp in Tyre, southern Lebanon 37
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Saudi religious leader Sheikh Ayed al-Qarni called this week for all Muslim scholars to issue a joint fatwa (religious ruling) against Syrian President Bashar Assad and his government, the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV channel reported.
Al-Qarni told the pan-Arab news channel that the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia and Al-Azhar University in Egypt should condemn the Syrian regime, and even said that assassinating Assad would be justified.
The sheikh said that the Syrian regime, in attacking civilians, was acting counter to Islam. He said he had spoken to refugees from Syria in Jordan, who had told him about the atrocities. In addition, he continued, the Syrian army had forced people to bow down to a picture of Assad.
"That is why all Syrians have to fight this regime. The Syrian youth should take up arms against the regime," he told Al-Arabiya.
Qarni¹s remarks followed a Sunday ruling by the leading Sunni Muslim body in Syria, which called for Syrians to join the army.
The Dar al-Ifta council ­ led by Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, who lost his son in a rebel attack in October 2011 ­ stated that members of the Syrian army should "raise up the words of God in our beloved country" in their "defense and jihad for Syria."
While Assad¹s Alawite sect dominates the country¹s regime, the Sunni opposition has the support of other Sunni Arab states. Sunni clerics in Syria and elsewhere have called for jihad against Assad¹s regime as the opposition has attracted foreign fighters.
The London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Monday that there were numerous fatwas being issued on satellite TV, in newspapers and online for or against regimes that have undergone uprisings and turmoil, but mainly those in Egypt and Syria.
According to a report on the Saudi Gazette¹s website late last week, Saudi cleric Sheikh Hassan Safar criticized the proliferation of fatwas coming from unqualified clerics on Arab satellite TV channels.
"It is not permissible to accept money for issuing a fatwa and it is unfortunate that some channels are hosting sheikhs and giving them remuneration for answering viewers' questions on religious topics," the report quoted him as saying. "These sheikhs should not be issuing fatwas if they seek publicity or monetary rewards."