The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
On January 24, 2012, online jihadis posted on YouTube an audio clip of Saudi cleric Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Suhaybani in which he legitimized attacks on Western targets, including diplomats and airplanes, and praised Al-Qaeda. Al-Suhaybani, a former dean of the shari'a faculty at the Islamic University (IU) in Al-Madina, currently holds an official position as a lecturer at the Prophet's Mosque in Al-Madina. Al-Suhaybani's lectures can be found on the Saudi government website for the Prophet's Mosque, www.haramain.gov.sa. Al-Suhaybani's picture, it should be noted, is unavailable, as he refuses to be photographed for religious reasons.
Al-Suhaybani's Twitter account
Asked in the clip for his opinion regarding the appropriate response to "insults to the Prophet," Al-Suhaybani answered that Muslims must muster their zeal and declare war on Westerners, attacking them in their embassies and on their airplanes. He explained that the Western states' ambassadors do not merit protection by treaty, as diplomats traditionally do according to Islamic law, because they represent the government of a state that allows insults to the Prophet, thereby forfeiting such protection.
According to the clip's description, Al-Suhaybani's statements were made in the Prophet's Mosque, apparently during one of his classes. The exact date when the statements were made is unknown, but they were clearly made in reference to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. One person who commented on the YouTube clip wrote: "This is a fatwa from a master of religious knowledge and a person who speaks the truth openly. I regard it as a groundbreaking fatwa that can be used as a proof before Allah in any jihadi or martyrdom-seeking operation against the crusaders."
Al-Suhaybani's page on www.haramain.gov.sa
Following are excerpts from Al-Suhaybani's statements:
"This Ambassador Nullified His Treaty"
[Unidentified speaker]: "What should be the Muslim's stance toward insults to the Prophet, and is protesting against them good?"
Al-Suhaybani: "By Allah, on this matter we pray to Allah to put an end to the evil of these infidels. [As it says in Koran 2:217:] 'They will not cease to fight you until they force you to renounce your faith.' However, Allah the Exalted made it clear that we must have zeal... 'But, if after coming to terms with you, they break their oaths and revile your faith, make war on the leaders of unbelief – for no oaths are binding with them – so that they may desist. Will you not fight against those who have broken their oaths and conspired to banish the Apostle? They were the first to attack you. Do you fear them? Surely Allah is more worthy of your fear.' [Koran 9:12].
"It is not permissible to remain silent vis-à-vis these people or to treat them tolerantly. Regretfully, instead of rebuking [those who insulted the Prophet], and not merely rebuking but also [acting in] zeal – the [governments] of the Islamic countries kill the masses that come out to show their zeal [for the Prophet.] They have apologized to the infidels and killed [the protestors.] That is to say, a number of zealous people who came out to protest what happened to the Prophet were killed. [Even] this did not please the Westerners.
"An ambassador was killed – this ambassador had nullified his 'ahd [treaty] and did not merit protection. Whoever nullifies the treaty by insulting the Prophet has no treaty... When the infidels insult the Prophet, they have no treaty, neither an ambassador nor anybody else. The ambassador represents his misguided, infidel government.
"Did [these] governments renounce what happened in their countries? They were ambiguous about it. If anyone speaks out against them [in our countries], they call him a terrorist and demand that he be handed over to them. Isn't this not so? But we stand with our arms crossed, and regretfully – what is worse – we try to please them by having the police kill those protestors who are zealous for what has been done to the Prophet. And they apologize to the infidels and brag about this.
"Do you fear them? Surely Allah is more worthy of your fear. We ask Allah to put a stop to their evil and harm. Their insults to the Prophet do not cease. This recurs in the countries of Europe – in France, in Holland, in Belgium, as well as in the U.S..."
The Victories Of "Our Brothers In Afghanistan... Make Us Happy"
"They do this in order to abuse and ridicule the Muslims, and their religious practices and feelings. The Islamic governments must say no. They must not treat the matter mildly or with tolerance. They must let the Muslim peoples act as they please and do what they wish to do. Trust Allah and be honest with Allah. Allah the exalted said: 'Had Allah willed, He could have Himself punished them; but He has ordained it thus that He might test you, the one by the other.' [Koran 47:4] If Allah willed it, no infidel would say anything, and if he did, Allah would strike him with lightning. However, he left the matter to us, [to see] if we will be zealous or not.
"All these statements calling on the Muslim peoples to boycott [Western products] are mistaken. Rather, the right thing to do is for the Muslim peoples to show zeal and anger in a manner that fits the stature of the Prophet, to the extent that the infidels are deterred and feel that the Muslims will not leave them alone. They should chase them down in their embassies, in their consulates, and in their airplanes, on land and in the sea. This is what should be done. We will not surrender to them or abide [their insults].
"They should declare war! Are we not a people of war? Our brothers in Afghanistan – their victories these days make us happy. They destroyed airplanes and killed many of Allah's enemies, even though they are few. They have very few weapons, but Allah has blessed their efforts, and we pray that He [continue] to bless their efforts. We also pray that He grant success to the Muslims in Palestine, that they may declare a jihad war there and forget about this nonsense [of negotiating with Israel], [and that Allah] grant our brothers in Syria a swift victory and deliver them from this tyrant [Assad] and his followers and supporters. I pray that He lead us all to what pleases Him..."
Al-Suhaybani's Anti-American Opinions On Twitter
In the past, Al-Suhaybani has expressed strong anti-American opinions on his Twitter account (http://twitter.com/mns979). On May 1, 2012, he harshly criticized the Afghan government for requesting security assistance from the U.S., to which he referred as "the great tyrant [al-taghout al-akbar]." On March 28, 2012, he criticized the Pakistani parliament for considering to resume supplying NATO. He wrote: "The Pakistani parliament is considering to renew the [approval for the] supplying of the Christian – American and European – forces, NATO, that have been fighting our Muslims brothers in Afghanistan for ten years. There is no doubt that supplying these forces in their war on the Muslims constitutes an apostasy from Islam…" In another occasion, Al-Suhaybani praised an Afghan soldier who was sentenced to death for killing five NATO soldiers. He said: "This Afghan mujahid killed five Christian invaders. The hypocrite apostates sentenced him to death. The Prophet said of this man and those who are like him 'he is one of mine and I am one of his'."