Fatwa calling for the death of the director, producer, and actors involved in making the film “Innocence of Muslims”

Yesterday, Ahmad ‘Ashush published a fatwa on the jihadist forums where he “decrees and calls on all Muslim youth in America and in Europa to fulfill this inescapable obligation. Namely, to kill the director, producer and the actors and anyone who helped to promote this film.” The fatwa was published by the relatively new al-Bayan media group that has established itself in the jihadist forums since the turmoil in Egypt. The media group acts in parallel to the al-Faruq media battalion, which has in the meantime published several videos showing Egyptian cleric Ahmad ‘Ashush with other renowned jihadist scholars in Tahrir, such as Muhammad al-Zawahiri or Marjan Salim (videos here and here). Ahmad ‘Ashush first surfaced in the al-Shumukh forum a while ago with a lengthy interview talking about the Hizb al-Nur (here) and established himself as an Islamic authority clearly adhering to the “jihadist torrent” while his – as of now – few writings are online over at al-Maqdisi’s Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad website (here).

This fatwa, however, is not unique and certainly nothing new from ‘Ashush. In July, the German GIMF department (probably courtesy of Austrian-Egyptian leader Muhammad Mahmud, aka Abu Usamah al-Gharib) posted a German translations of ‘Ashush’s article “an outcry… Supporting our prophet” (German). This was a direct reaction by ‘Ashush to events in Germany demanding the death of those who insulted the prophet by showing the Danish Muhammad Cartoons, attacking both the German government as well as demanding the beheading of the defamers in Europe. A violent clash preceded ‘Ashush’s reaction when salafist-jihadists in Germany clashed with police in Bonn and Solingen in May this year. ‘Ashush wrote: “There are free youth among the Muslims, living in Europe, who became angry for the prophet. They went out to defend his honor. The Germans beat, humiliated and arrested them. So, where are you in support of them?”

The German-language propaganda departments had plenty of new materials and produced videos and published reaffirming translations justifying violence in support of the prophet. Again, GIMF published a German translation of al-Maqdisi’s writing “The Drawn Sword against those who Insult the Lord, the Religion or the Messenger of God” (Arabic and German). This is based on the historical writing of Ibn Taymiyya, available on al-Maqdisi’s site here.

The protests that turned violent were directed against a German ultra-rightwing minority party “PRO-NRW” who succeeded in instigating the German salafists by showing the Muhammad cartoons on billboards. With the police in the middle, the salafists counter-demonstration turned violent and led to many arrests. In a video entitled “In Reih und Glied standen sie für Rasulullah” (They stood in a single file for the messenger of God – here, note the Arabic opening nasheed) violence to defend the honor of the prophet is further justified and sanctioned, depicting the salafists as ‘true’ believers and real men. Shortly after, Abu Ibraheem (Yasin Chouka), one of the German propagandists of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan called for the “death of Pro-NRW”, re-affirming the obligation to “kill those, who insult the prophet, no matter if they are Muslims or disbelievers.” (here)

Two similar writings of Ahmad ‘Ashush – the ‘Muhammad-movie-fatwa’

In his self-entitled fatwa yesterday, ‘Ashush repeats basic sentiments he had addressed as a response to the insult of the prophet in Germany. In both legal decrees, ‘Ashush cites the Qur’an (al-Ahzab: 6):

“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves, and his wives are (as) their mothers.” (trans. by Shakir)

‘Ashush seeks to act as a high-profile ideologue, citing in length the hadith and drawing on Ibn Taymiyya. “Killing them [the movie affiliates] is a duty for every capable Muslim. The killing of the aforementioned is prescribed by Islamic law (…).” Stating two examples, Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, a Jew, that Ibn Taymiyya in detail analyzed and a woman who had insulted the prophet, ‘Ashush makes his case clear that “the prophet had commanded the killing of al-Ashraf” as well as the killing of a woman, as stated later. For ‘Ashush this serves as proof that anyone “offending the prophet, even Muslims, are sentenced to death for this.” Independent of Muslim or non-Muslim, man or woman, the blood of those insulting Muhammad must be shed. “For this is the ruling of the prophet”. ‘Ashush recounts the hadith of a female companion who on the account of a blind man insulted Muhammad and was subsequently put to death for her insults. The blind man had been her husband and he was the one who had killed her with his knife. He then stated to Muhammad the reason: “o messenger of God, I am her husband and she insulted you often (…) yesterday she insulted you and I took a knife and stabbed her in her stomach (…). The messenger replied: “so then witness her blood shed””.
This hadith, for ‘Ashush, provides enough argumentation to oblige Muslims to act accordingly, listing four key arguments:

  1. As the man had been blind and a companion of the prophet most aware of the shari’a, the woman insulting the prophet had been killed. She had been his wife, killed by him.
  2. Referring to the citation of the Qur’an, the prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than anyone else – even if this woman has children, or is the wife of a companion, she must be executed for her insult.
  3. This accounts for no matter what standing of position her children have;
  4. Or her position being a companion of the prophet, being in his service. “Killing her for insulting the prophet is pleasing for God, the Lord of the Worlds.”

Following a typical jihadist rhetoric, ‘Ashush repeats his statements of his writing in response to the insulting of the prophet in Germany, asking where the true scholars of Islam are, refuting the ‘state-owned’ ‘ulama’.

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