Saudi religious authority forbids 'jihad' in Syria
Published Thursday, June 7, 2012
A member of Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority prohibited on Thursday any acts of jihad in Syria.
Sheikh Ali al-Hikmi of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars issued a fatwa forbidding jihad after calls for such action have increased in recent months.
Al-Hikmi warned, in a statement to the Saudi daily Alsharq, against the calls for jihad in Syria on online social networks, adding that different methods can be used to support Syrian people.
“The Syrian people are facing injustice, persecution and the force of an arrogant and haughty regime, and needs our prayers and help in every possible way,” the Saudi sheikh said to the daily.
Al-Hikmi explained that the act of jihad fell under the authority of the guardian – a reference to Saudi authorities – and any such act, which was not approved by the guardian, is a form of disobedience and should be prohibited.
“The support for the Syrian people should be in harmony with the country's policy,” the scholar added.
“Everything is linked to a system and to the country's policies and no person should be allowed to disobey the guardian and call for jihad.”
The Saudi sheikh said that unapproved jihad would embarrass the country, adding that “there should be a coordination with the government, regarding organized support, because the government is fulfilling its duties towards the Syrian people.”
Sunni scholars commended the kingdom's supportive stance of the Syrian uprising in all international bodies and its continuous call for arming of the opposition and backing of the Free Syrian Army, despite its fractured state.
Another council member, Sheikh Abdullah al-Motlaq, said that “the Free Syrian Army is in charge of fighting and jihad in Syria and should be supported.”
While the Saudi Council of Senior Scholar has been outspoken in its support of the Syrian uprising, it has forbidden any forms of dissent in Saudi Arabia, also a repressive dictatorship.
Early last year, the council issued a fatwa, forbidding any form of protests or petitions for reforms in the oil-rich kingdom, fearing a similar uprising inspired by the Arab Spring.