[ExI] whose fatwa? what ruler?

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Mar 15 14:29:52 UTC 2009

At 11:12 AM 3/15/2009 +0000, Ben Zaiboc quoted in reply to my comment:

> >I haven't read a psychiatric evaluation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah
> >Ali Khamenei, but his fatwa against nuclear weapons states, as you
> >know, that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons is
> >forbidden under Islam.
>"Iranian fatwa approves use of nuclear weapons
>Iran's hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new 
>fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against 
>its enemies.
>In yet another sign of Teheran's stiffening resolve on the nuclear 
>issue, influential Muslim clerics have for the first time questioned 
>the theocracy's traditional stance that Sharia law forbade the use 
>of nuclear weapons."

And? This is interesting, but seems rather beside the point of what 
was being asserted and answered. Let's go back...

Spike said:

 > Iran [is] ruled by an apparent madman

I pointed out that Iran is ruled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali 
Khamenei, a comparative moderate. Jeff made the distinction even 
clearer, in case anyone had missed it, replying to Spike that:

"You are speaking of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad....not a 
madman, just a politician who speaks in accord with his cultural 
idiom.  In any event he does not rule Iran, and in fact, has little 
real power."

Ben now cites another fatwa from a newspaper article that seems to 
confuse the relative power and station of these two men, which is bad 
enough--but also (it seems to me, no scholar of Islam) to 
misunderstand the nature of fatwas. These are *opinions*, not ex 
cathedra pronouncements from some seat of absolute authority. 
Moreover, the source of this particular fatwa was, according to the paper:

"Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of the ultra-conservative Ayatollah 
Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is widely regarded as the cleric 
closest to Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

This opinions "appeared on Rooz, an internet newspaper run by members 
of Iran's fractured reformist movement, which picked them up from 
remarks by Mohsen Gharavian reported on the media agency IraNews.... 
Rooz reported that Mohsen Gharavian, a lecturer based in a religious 
school in the holy city of Qom, had declared "for the first time that 
the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem, according to Sharia."

How relevant is this to the views of the man who actually rules Iran 
(which is where we came in)? I suspect that to equate all these 
opinions is about as sensible as saying that a call for the death of 
all white oppressors made in  a blog entry by the Rev. Rabid Q. 
Snake, a lecturer and disciple of Loony T. Catkiller, proves that 
President Obama is an apparent madman bent on race war.

Damien Broderick

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