April 2nd, 2010 09:54 EST
Muslim Scholars tell Osama Bin Laden he's Got It all Wrong
PARIS: Prominent Muslim scholars have recast a famous medieval fatwa on jihad, arguing that the religious edict radical Islamists often cite to justify killing cannot be used in a globalized world that respects faith and civil rights.
A conference in Mardin in southeastern Turkey declared the fatwa by 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyya rules out militant violence and the medieval division of the world into a "house of Islam" and "house of unbelief" no longer applies.
Osama bin Laden has quoted Ibn Taymiyya`s "Mardin fatwa" repeatedly while calling for Muslims to overthrow the Saudi monarchy and wage jihad against the US.
Referring to that document, the conference said: "Anyone who seeks support from this fatwa for killing Muslims or non-Muslims has erred in his interpretation... It is not for a Muslim individual or group to declare war or engage in combative jihad... on their own."
The declaration is the latest bid by mainstream scholars to use age-old Muslim texts to refute current-day religious arguments by Islamist groups. A leading Pakistani scholar issued a 600-page fatwa against terrorism in London early this month.
Another declaration in Dubai this month concerned peace in Somalia. They may not convince militants, but could help keep undecided Muslims from supporting them, the scholars say.
The Mardin conference gathered 15 leading scholars from countries including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, Senegal, Kuwait, Iran, Morocco and Indonesia. Among them were Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric, Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah of Mauritania and Yemeni Sheikh Habib Ali al-Jifri.
The fatwa is often cited by militants who say it allows Muslims to declare other Muslims infidels and wage war on them. The scholars said it had to be seen in its historic context of Mongol raids on Muslim lands.
The emergence of civil states that guard religious, ethnic and national rights "has necessitated declaring the entire world a place of tolerance and peaceful co-existence between all religious, groups and factions," their declaration said.