Religious leaders condemned for fatwas declared against journalists

 

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its deep concern about an upsurge in fatwas (religious decrees) calling for the murder of journalists in the Arab and Muslim world.

In the latest case, a high-ranking Saudi official, Sheikh Saleh al-Luhidan, president of the superior council of jurisprudence, issued a fatwa on 12 September 2008 calling for the murder of owners of Arabic satellite television stations for spreading “depravity”.

“From Nigeria to Pakistan, and via Saudi Arabia, many journalists have been targeted by religious officials in recent years after writing articles or broadcasting programmes viewed as “blasphemous” and “anti-Islamic”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“These fatwas constitute calls for murder that endanger the lives of journalists who are already working in conditions made more difficult by the delicate political context in which they have to operate. We urge religious officials to show moderation so that no irreparable steps are taken. The highest Islamic authorities should publicly condemn such fatwas”, it added.

The religious dignitary in the Saudi case played down his comments a few days later, in the face of an outcry prompted by his statements, but still without backing down on the validity of his edict.

continue reading at    www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=28560

 

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