“Blowing oneself up for the sake of Allah is acceptable,” according to a radical Muslim cleric who recently spoke to a Lebanese television network.
The comments by Syrian-born Islamist cleric Omar Bakri were made in an interview which aired on the Lebanese Al-Jadid/New TV on November 26. They were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In the interview, Bakri was justifying the recent bombings of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
“When a [martyrdom-seeker] wishes to please Allah, the pinnacle of what he can do is to die for His sake, in a justified battle or confrontation with the enemies of Allah – in order to elevate the word of Allah – and attains either victory for the religion of Allah or martyrdom,” he explained.
“Who is a martyr is known to Allah alone. When somebody dies on the battlefield, we say that we consider him a martyr but that he will be judged by Allah, because the Prophet Muhammad forbade us from declaring anyone a martyr ourselves,” said Bakri.
He stressed, “Blowing oneself up as part of fighting for the sake of Allah is considered to be in keeping with Islamic law, within certain constraints. The proof is that if someone blew himself up in an Israeli embassy, he would be praised by all. This is evident in history. Many groups – even non-Muslim groups – praise those who die for their ideology.”
Bakri went on to say that “blowing oneself up for the sake of Allah is acceptable, so long as the target is legitimate,” meaning that even Muslims are legitimate targets of suicide bombings.
“With regard to the two young men [who committed the Beirut suicide attacks], I pray that Allah will accept them as martyrs and absolve their sins, and that He will also accept as martyrs those who were killed there by mistake,” he declared.
Bakri, along with infamous British Islamist Anjem Choudary, was the founder of a British Islamist group called ‘Al Muhajiroun’, which was eventually banned in the UK. He currently lives in Lebanon after leaving Britain following terror attacks at the London Underground several years ago.
Bakri claimed in 2012 that the suicide bomber who killed five Israeli citizens in the city of Burgas was his disciple. That attack was attributed to Hezbollah.
Lebanon has seen sectarian clashes related to the civil war in neighboring Syria. These clashes only intensified when the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group joined the fighting in Syria.
The clashes have escalated in recent months as a series of deadly bombings hit the country.
A car bomb hit the southern suburbs of Beirut on July 9, causing no fatalities, and again on August 15, killing 27 people. Eight days later, two car bombs hit the northern city of Tripoli, killing 45 people.
Earlier this week, a car bomb exploded near a Hezbollah position in eastern Lebanon, causing a number of casualties.
Two suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy in the southern Beirut neighborhood of Bir Hasan on November 19, killing 25 people and wounding more than 150.
An Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, but Hezbollah nevertheless accused Israel of involvement in the bombing.