A friend sent me this piece with this comment: “Everyone wants to find moderate Muslims. Well, this Guardian journalist has found one! His name? Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, who happens to be the patron of Hizballah. But it gets better. Why is Fadlallah a moderate? Because he is against terrorism! And the proof? He made a single statement condemning terrorism. But it gets even better! What terrorism? Why, the murder of Shia Iraqi pilgrims by Sunni insurgents.
“In other words, if a Shia cleric condemns the murder of Shias by Sunnis that makes him a moderate who opposes terrorism.
“What happens if–as has probably happened–bin Ladin attacks Shia in Iraq for murdering Sunnis? Guess that makes him a moderate Muslim!
“It isn’t just the horrible political and (im)moral views we constantly face in the leading newspapers and other institutions about the Middle East. The sheer ignorance and stupidity is just as bad…or worse?”
Indeed. Here is Fadlallah praising Hizballah and threatening a new Khaybar, i.e., a new massacre of Jews by Muslims.
“Who’s listening to the Muslim moderates?,” by Haroon Siddique in The Guardian:
There was a distinct lack of interest when one of the world’s most senior Islamic clerics condemned extremists.
Rightwing politician Geert Wilders, whose film the Dutch government is currently considering banning, has said there is no such thing as moderate Islam.
His view is an extreme one, but how many times have we read or heard calls for moderate Muslims to speak out about wrongs supposedly carried out in the name of Islam?
Politicians including Tony Blair and various commentators – here’s a Telegraph leader – have urged the moderate voice of Islam to make itself heard above the din of extremist preachers.
Last week, one of the most respected clerics in Shia Islam, Lebanon’s grand ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, condemned the perpetrators of an attack against pilgrims in Iraq as “murderers and animals” and called for the repudiation of a school of thought that it was permissible to spill the blood of Muslims “who embrace another doctrine, or believe in alternative political views”.
While in this case the victims – as well as the attackers – were Muslim, Fadlullah, one of the Muslim world’s few Grand Ayatollahs (they have the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and lower-rank clerics) was condemning the phenomenon of “takfir”, which sees some militant Muslims regard non-believers as a legitimate target.
If you do not remember reading or hearing about his comments that is probably because you did not. His words, reported by Reuters, might have been expected to be picked up by the same media which regularly feature writers bemoaning a lack of moderate Muslims. But there was no mention of his strong words in the British papers, their websites or that of the BBC.
Now despite the fact that this story says nothing about nothing in terms of the real moderation we need to see — Muslim rejection of jihad against non-Muslims and Islamic supremacism — a Reuters hack was on hand to assure Siddique that that “news” agency was doing all it could to disseminate his words. Here’s a comment on Siddique’s article from “tomhenegen”:
Haroon, thanks for pointing this out. There was another case like this — a statement by the Deobandi seminary in India condemning terrorism as un-Islamic — that we reported the day before Fadlallah spoke. We mentioned your post and linked to the Deoband case on the Reuters religion blog FaithWorld at
For information on the equally inadequate, if not downright deceptive, Deobandi statement, see here.