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11/6/04 - RADICAL CLERICS SHOULD BE LIABLE - 2004-11-08


More Muslims are raising their voices to condemn the promotion of terrorism by religious extremists. Most recently, a group of Arab intellectuals says it wants prominent Muslim clerics known to be inciting others to violence to be tried by an international court on charges of encouraging terrorism. The group’s spokesman says that governments have not acted strongly enough against the extremist clerics.

Shaker al-Nabulsi, a U.S.-based Jordanian university professor, said about three-thousand Arab and Muslim intellectuals have signed a petition calling for international trials.

Iraqis, Jordanians, Libyans, Tunisians, and Persian Gulf intellectuals are among those who signed. "The Arab regimes cannot put an end to these fatwas of terrorism; the international community can," Mr. al-Nabulsi said.

Among those the Muslim intellectuals want to see tried is Qatar-based Egyptian Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi. He has condoned attacks on American civilians in Iraq and sanctioned kidnappings.

More than one-hundred-fifty foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq by various groups. Dozens have been murdered. The intellectuals also accuse al-Qaradawi of endorsing the killing of liberal-minded Muslims.

Muslim intellectuals also want the Saudi clerics, Sheik Ali Bin Khudeir al-Khudeir and Sheik Safar al-Hawali, put on trial. Both men preach the kind of radical, violent views espoused by al-Qaida.

The group of Muslim intellectuals plans to deliver a statement to the United Nations. In it, they write, "Fatwas issued by these sheiks play a key role in releasing the sadism of terrorists and their desire for death beyond any moral bounds and feelings of guilt." The intellectuals cite various U-N Security Council resolutions against terrorism that they say should be used to set up a tribunal. Those resolutions, they say, "stipulate that effective measures should be taken against individuals and groups involved in terrorism, including bringing them to justice."

Muslim intellectuals are trying to make accountable those who would hijack Islam and approve the killing of innocents. They deserve the support of their fellow Muslims everywhere.

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