A mufti is a jurist who interprets Muslim religious law.
Grand Mufti is the title given to the titular head of the Muslim community. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is Sheik Abdul Aziz al ash-Shaikh, 72, the equivalent of the Catholic Church’s pope. He’s been blind since 1960.
The blind Grand Mufti has just declared it necessary to destroy all Christian churches in the Middle East region. In so doing, Sheik Abdul puts the lie to Muslims’ insistence that Islam’s God is the same as the God of Judaism and Christianity, and that Muslims respect Jews and Christians as all “People of the Book.”
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh
As reported by an editorial in The Washington Times on March 16, 2012:
On March 12, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The ruling came in response to a query from a Kuwaiti delegation over proposed legislation to prevent construction of churches in the emirate. The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.
This is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world. It does not just create a religious obligation for those over whom the mufti has direct authority; it is also a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory.
Being not just a mufti but a grand mufti, the sheik’s declaration that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” therefore is a fatwa — a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law.
Not only is the sheik’s declaration unreported by the useless MSM, the fatwa also went without any comment, even less a condemnation, by the Obama administration.
The Washington Times notes:
If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening. […]
The Obama administration ignores these types of provocations at its peril. The White House has placed international outreach to Muslims at the center of its foreign policy in an effort to promote the image of the United States as an Islam-friendly nation. This cannot come at the expense of standing up for the human rights and religious liberties of minority groups in the Middle East. The region is a crucial crossroads. Islamist radicals are leading the rising political tide against the authoritarian, secularist old order. They are testing the waters in their relationship with the outside world, looking for signals of how far they can go in imposing their radical vision of a Shariah-based theocracy. Ignoring provocative statements like the mufti’s sends a signal to these groups that they can engage in the same sort of bigotry and anti-Christian violence with no consequences.
Mr. Obama’s outreach campaign to the Muslim world has failed to generate the good will that he expected. In part, this was because he felt it was better to pander to prejudice than to command respect. When members of the Islamic establishment call for the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing, the leader of the free world must respond or risk legitimizing the oppression that follows. The United States should not bow to the extremist dictates of the grand mufti, no matter how desperate the White House is for him to like us.
Alas, The Washington Times’ counsel that Obama should condemn what the Saudi Grand Mufti said will fall on deaf ears. Have we already forgotten this famous bow to the Saudi king in 2009?
Thankfully, since Islam is not (yet) a unified political religion, but is divided at least into the Sunni and Shia sects, dissenting Muslim voices are already criticizing the Grand Mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region.
Turkey’s top imam, Mehmet Görmez, said he cannot accept the Grand Mufti’s fatwa because it runs contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.
H/t our beloved fellow Grouchy.