Kidnapping infidels and releasing them for ransom or killing them, as well as exchanging them for Muslim prisoners if that option is deemed most advantageous for the Muslims, is fully sanctioned in Islamic law: “As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, ‘When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks’ (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4)” — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192.
“The [Nusra] Front was good to us … but we took off our crosses because we were in the wrong place to wear them.”
“Syria crisis: Kidnapped nuns released in prisoner deal,” from the BBC, March 10:
A group of Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by rebels in the Syrian Christian town of Maaloula in December have been released.
The 13 nuns and their three helpers were said to have been freed as part of a prisoner exchange.
The women have been taken to the town of Judaydat Yabus on the Syrian-Lebanon border, Lebanese state media reported.
Rights groups say kidnappings by both rebel groups and government forces have become increasingly common.
The capture of the nuns had raised fears that Christians were becoming a target for the rebels.
Opposition fighters, including members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, seized the women from the Greek Orthodox convent of Mar Takla when fighters overran Maaloula, about 60km (40 miles) north-east of Damascus, in December, the Associated Press reports.
The nuns, who are believed to be mostly Syrian and Lebanese, worked in the convent’s orphanage, the agency said.
They were reportedly held for at least part of their captivity in the rebel stronghold of Yabroud, now the target of heavy government bombardment.
The women reached the Syrian town of Judaydat Yabus overnight after a nine-hour journey.
“We arrived late, and we arrived tired,” the Associated Press quoted Mother Superior Pelagia Sayaf, the head of the Maaloula convent, as saying.
She said the women were mostly well treated by their captors.
“God did not leave us,” she said. “The [Nusra] Front was good to us … but we took off our crosses because we were in the wrong place to wear them.”
About 150 female prisoners are to be released in exchange for the group’s freedom, Lebanese security chief Gen Abbas Ibrahim told Syrian television….