Until May 2003, al Qaeda did not have sufficient Islamic grounding on which to convincingly justify a WMD attack. In that month, however, a young Saudi cleric named Shaykh Nasir bin Hamid al-Fahd published "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels."
Source: Excerpts from, Imperial Hubris , by Michael Scheuer: Pages 154-156
Paperback editon March 4, 2005
The study is lucidly written, comprehensive, and well-documented justification and authorization for using weapons of mass destruction against infidels-in this case, against the United States.
Without Question, Shaykh al-Fahd wrote, the "Proscription [of weapons of mass destruction] Belongs to God Almighty, and to None Other Than He, such as Humans."
Shaykh al-Fahd begins by describing the term "weapons of mass destruction" as an "inexact term," claiming that chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons that killed a thousand people would be called by the West "internationally banned weapons," whereas the use of "high explosive bombs weighing seven tons apiece and [that] killed three thousand or more" would be called "internationally permissible weapons." On that basis, he dismisses the WMD-armed West's treaties and regulations banning WMD proliferation as mere attempts to scare others and protect itself. "Thus it is evident," he wrote, "that [the Western nations] do not wish to protect humanity by these terms, as they assert; rather, they want to protect themselves and monopolize such weapons on the pretext of banning them internationally.
"All these terms have no standing in Islamic law, because God Almighty has reserved judgment and legislation to Himself...This is a matter so obvious to Muslims that it needs no demonstration.
Summary of al-Fahd's Fatwa:
* Shaykh al-Fahd first cites three examples from the Koran in which God says that Muslims may respond reciprocally for attacks made on them. "Anyone who considers America's aggressions against Muslims and their lands during the past decades," al-Fahd wrote, "will conclude that striking her is permissible merely on the rule of treating as one has been treated. Some brothers have totaled the number of Muslims killed directly or indirectly by their weapons and come up with a figure of nearly 10 million."
* Shaykh al-Fahd next argues that large civilian casualties are acceptable if they result from an attack meant to defeat an enemy, and not an attack aimed only at killing the innocent. "The messenger of God [the Prophet Muhammad]," al-Fahd wrote, "commanded an attack on the enemy. In many traditions, he attacked others...He was not prevented from this by what we know, namely that he knew that women and children would not be safe from harm. He allowed the attack because the intent of the attackers was not to harm them...Thus the situation in this regard is that if those engaged in jihad establish that the evil of the infidels can be repelled only by attacking them at night with weapons of mass destruction, they may be used even if they annihilate the infidels."
* Shaykh al-Fahd concludes by addressing the issue of whether Muslims can kill other Muslims in pursuing jihad in God's name. He says that, indeed, the lives of Muslims are considered sacred and there is no permission from God to wantonly kill another Muslim. But, al-Fahd maintains, "If we accept the argument unrestrictedly, we should entirely suspend jihad, for no infidel land is devoid of Muslims. As long as jihad has been commanded...
Excerpts from, Imperial Hubris , by Michael Scheuer: Pages 154-156
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