A well known Salafi sheikh in Jordan has caused wide outrage in the Muslim world, after issuing a fatwa (Islamic ruling) in a video making the rounds online in which he forbids murdering Jews outside the context of war and clashes.
Sheikh Ali Halabi, head of the Imam al-Albani religious studies center, is seen in the video being asked by a student as to whether it is allowed to murder Jews in “Palestine.”
“Someone who protects you, gives you electricity and water, transfers you money and you work for him and take his money – would you betray him, even if he was a Jew?,” he responds in the video.
In clashes and war killing Jews is fine according the sheikh, “but if you trust him and he trusts you, then it is forbidden to betray him. And therefore you are forbidden to murder him.”
Another student then asked the sheikh if armed IDF soldiers in the streets could be murdered, at which he said: “the same answer. Does a soldier holding a weapon in the street kill every Muslim he sees?” The student responded: “no.”
When asked if IDF soldiers “only attack if they are first attacked?,” the sheikh replied, “I don’t live in Palestine, but that is what the brothers there tell us. That he who does not attack Jews is not attacked in return.”
The sheikh made clear that his statements do not mean that he is not a hostile enemy of the “despised Jews.”
He didn’t want it to seem as if he was “defending the despised Jews. But this is the reality. Because if they would kill everyone they met, nobody would remain and the Palestinians would continue to escape to other countries in the world.”
The video was widely shared on social media, where a backlash was seen as activists condemned the sheikh and his fatwa.
Halabi’s statement brings to mind the case of Sheikh Ahmad Adwan of Jordan, who last year raised a stir by saying Allah gave the land of Israel to the Jews, and that there is no such thing as “Palestine.”
Earlier this year, another Jordanian sheikh declared his support for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount – and was arrested for airing such views by authorities.
Unfortunately, the opinions of the sheikhs appears to be an extreme minority view in Jordan which, despite a peace treaty with Israel, has frequently openly called for Israel’s destruction in mass rallies and statements by political leaders.