The Fiqh Council of North America unveiled a new fatwa against terrorism last Friday at an event held at the National Press Club, though this fatwa is nearly identical to the one they issued in July 2005. But the most notable addition to the present document is its forbidding any association with “any group of individual in any act of terrorism or violence” – a proscription that members of the Fiqh Council flagrantly violate on regular a basis.
As I reported back in September, two of the fifteen members of the Fiqh Council, Salah Sultan and Jamal Badawi, not only attended a conference in July in Doha, Qatar honoring Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who has been listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US government since 1999, but both were noted by Qaradawi as honored guests at the event. Salah Sultan delivered a tearful speech praising his mentor, as well as a paper expounding on Qaradawi’s intellectual contributions, both of which have been published on Qaradawi’s personal website. The Fiqh Council’s former chairman, Taha Jaber Al-awani, was also present at the Qaradawi conference and was included in the list of honored guests roasting the terrorist leader. Al-Awani was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami Al-Arian terrorism trial
One prominent speaker at the event was Khaled Mash’al, the political director of the terrorist group HAMAS and another Specially Designated Global Terrorist identified by the US government. The video of Mash’al’s speech, where he praised Qaradawi for his fatwa endorsing suicide bombings, has been translated and transcribed by MEMRI. In that video of Mash’al’s speech, Salah Sultan can be seen sitting on the speakers’ dais just feet away from the two terrorist leaders. The Islamonline website also features a picture of Qaradawi and Sultan sharing a private moment during the conference.
Back in May, I reported here at FrontPage that Sultan had been a speaker at a pro-HAMAS rally in Istanbul in July 2006, where he spoke with HAMAS head Ismail Haniyeh. And during the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, a 1992 phonebook entered as evidence listed Jamal Badawi as one of the executive board members for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. The Muslim Brotherhood is the ideological progenitor of the modern Islamic terrorism movement.
While several other Fiqh Council members have been tied to terrorism, the activities of one member, Muhammad Al-Hanooti, deserves special attention. Hanooti was listed by US Attorney Mary Jo White as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, due in no small measure to his open association with “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life term in federal prison for his terrorist activities and was a regular fixture at Hanooti’s then-New Jersey mosque. The rental agreement for the van used in the 1993 bombing bore the address of Hanooti’s mosque.
One classified 2001 FBI memo by the agency’s counterterrorism director identifies Hanooti as a major operative for HAMAS, as reported in an extensive 2002 investigative article by the Albany Times-Union. That same report states that he raised $6 million for HAMAS in 1993 alone, and that year Hanooti was one of the attendees at the infamous Philadelphia HAMAS meeting where he served as a representative for the terror organization. And just weeks after 9/11, Hanooti penned an editorial published by the Times Union saying, “Yesterday's freedom fighters are today's terrorists and vice versa”.
Apart from the glaringly obvious duplicity of the Fiqh Council’s new terror fatwa by having its members openly associating with known terrorists, the fatwa itself suffers from the same defects as the previous version – it fails to define terrorism, doesn’t identify or condemn any actual terrorists, and doesn’t address the jihadist ideology that breeds Islamic terrorism. Steve Emerson of The Investigative Project had rightly called the previous version a “bogus fatwa” for these same reasons.
That the Fiqh Council of North America has added association with terrorists to the prohibitions of its “Terror Fatwa 2.0”, while its members continue to openly associate with designated terrorists, demonstrates the Fiqh Council’s flagrant hypocrisy when it comes to confronting Islamic terrorism. No one should be fooled that the Fiqh Council is actually serious about reforming its terror-loving ways.