The ramifications can be momentous for Muslims and non-Muslims alike: consider the difference in opinion between the Saudi leaders and Usama Bin Ladin concerning the presence of American soldiers in the Kingdom after the invasion of Kuwait. Bin Ladin opposed this infidel ‘occupation’. In his 1996 fatwa declaring war on Americahe counted the presence of US soldiers as “one of the worst catastrophes to befall the Muslims” since the death of Muhammad.
Saudia Arabia’s Grand Mufti and supreme religious authority Sheikh Ibn Baz, however, allowed American troops into Saudi Arabia, although in another fatwa he had stated that Christian servants could not be employed in Arabia:
“It is not allowed to have a non-Muslim maid. It is not allowed to have a non-Muslim male or a non-Muslim female servant, or a worker who is a non-Muslim for anyone living in the Arabian peninsula. This is because the Prophet Muhammad ordered the Jews and Christians to be expelled from that land. He ordered that only Muslims should be left there. He decreed upon his death that all polytheists must be expelled from this Peninsula. (Islamic Fatawa Regarding Women, p. 36 compiled by Abdul Malik Mujahid).
Both Usama Bin Ladin and the Saudi authorities agreed on the principle that infidels could not be permitted to live in Saudi Arabia. What they disagreed on was how to balance this against other requirements, such as the need to safeguard the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This difference was enough to trigger Bin Ladin’s war on America.
What distinguishes a jihadi terrorist from a more peaceful Muslim, therefore, may not be any fundamental difference in belief, but, as in the West, merely in a given instance, how the religious legal principles of his faith should be applied.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: Dr. Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist and pastor of an Anglican church. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom.
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