Tuesday, November 24

Banning Fatwa’s

HT John Burgess.

This was interesting. I quote:

JEDDAH – An undisclosed number of religious preachers have been barred from issuing fatwas during this year’s Haj due to the “extremist” nature of their rulings and “violations committed during last year’s Haj.”
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Tawfiq Al-Sudairi, said the ministry monitored the “performance of those working in the field of religious call and guidance and issuing edicts during the Haj seasons” through supervisors who produce opinion polls and reports.
“The ministry has tightened supervision this year,” Al-Sudairi said,” and field inspections have led to a number of religious callers, although few in number, being removed due to serious violations.”
The violations reportedly included “hard-line edicts that harm the Haj.”
“The ministry seeks to make things easier for pilgrims during the Haj and prevent the issuing of hard-line edicts, to take into consideration differences in cultural, religious, geographical and jurisprudential backgrounds,” Al-Sudairi said. “The ministry also seeks religious callers with an extensive knowledge of jurisprudence and who take jurisprudential differences into consideration.”

Ok, I know that many people hate the fatwa’s. The hate relates to people saying stupid things or harmful things. And as this is coming from religious scholars, it has the patina of truth, of Divine sanction and given that quite a lot of people are basically sheep when it comes to religion, it can actually do harm.

But I disagree that these people should be banned from giving fatwas. Its freedom of speech and you need to allow them to speak out. If they are talking rot, that’s all right, because it will show up the religious fundo’s up in a bad light. And at end of the day, people are relatively smart and eventually wise up to these morons who go about reading rot and saying garbage.

But it is their right to say what they wish. As long as their sayings to not interfere or injure anybody else, go for it, knock yourself out. The way to deal with crap speech is to discuss and debate with them, not ban them. This causes them to become martyrs. What also struck me as strange was that the ministry in Saudi Arabia which is in charge can actually be charged with being unislamic as no man can know the niyaat of another when talking about religion. Plus one can give a very jaundiced view on what Saudi Arabia thinks of religion anyway.

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