The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) issued a fatwa prohibiting offering aid to foreign troops in Muslim countries whether on the personal or the business levels.
The assembly, made up of jurists and scholars in charge of issuing fatwas for Muslims in the United States and headed by Sheikh Salah al-Sawy, received several inquiries about the stance of Islam on business deals with coalition troops in Iraq or NATO forces in Afghanistan, especially companies that transfer foodstuffs and other supplies to military bases.
The question was posted on AMJA fatwa bank, reads: "Is it permissible to participate in taking food to the American and foreign soldiers working in Muslim lands?" and the answer is, "That would not be permissible, for that would be helping others in sin and transgression."
The fatwa, number 3062 to be issued by the assembly, stipulated that Muslims are not to help foreigners on personal or business basis as long as their presence in Muslim countries is linked to occupation.
The statement was based on a verse from the Quran that said Muslims should only offer help in noble causes and should not take part in any kind of action that involves violence or damage.
"Muslims should help anyone involved in benevolent acts regardless of their nationality, religion, or political affiliation and whether they are civilians or soldiers."
This, the fatwa added, is not the case with foreign troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and which are occupying those countries against the will of their people and, therefore, engaging in any type of interaction with them endows their presence with legitimacy and makes those who deal with them accomplices in the crime.
The assembly, which is considered one of the most respected Islamic authorities in the United States, added that the fatwa also applied to Muslims who are U.S. citizens.
The fatwa stirred controversy in the American media. Several critics warned that such religious edicts usually translate into violence against the troops in Muslim countries while others expressed their indignation that scholars who incite Muslims against American troops are, in fact, American citizens.
Another fatwa that sparked anger was issued by Muslim-American cleric Anwar Awlaki who warned Muslim Americans of serving in the U.S. military or supporting the trooping occupying Muslim countries in any way and declared American troops and military bases an open target for Jihad.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).