The Allure of Parliamentary Politics

The Sharia Council of the Minbar al-Tawhid website has issued a new fatwa today by Abu Mundhir al-Shinqiti. The fatwa rules on the permissibility of Muslims electing representatives to parliaments and serving in those bodies. Since the Minbar’s Sharia Council has become the jihadis’ go-to resource for religious opinions, its fatwas on the Arab Spring matter in jihadi circles (see Joas’ and Brynjar’s earlier posts on the council’s output). This may become even more true in the months ahead if al-Qaeda continues to fade as the vanguard of the jihadi movement. Unsurprisingly, the council rules that it is forbidden for Muslims to participate in a parliamentary system, even if it is to make the constitution more Islamic (the reasons are the same as those outlined in my Foreign Affairs article). It also enjoins Muslims to focus on fighting in “lands of jihad,” which is somewhat at odds with al-Shinqiti’s earlier

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