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Maghreb countries support Saudi Arabia’s Fatwa on Terrorism By agencies RABAT, Morocco - Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Ulema has won positive reactions around the Maghreb by issuing a fatwa condemning all acts of terrorism and criminalising their financing. The fatwa, which comes nearly a decade after al-Qaeda's September 11th, 2001 attacks on the US, defines terrorism as any act involving "targeting public resources", "hijacking planes" or "blowing up buildings". Under the fatwa signed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sheikh on April 12th, such attacks are considered criminal acts unrelated to jihad for Islam, and "mischief in the land" prohibited by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Many Maghreb citizens contacted by Magharebia described the fatwa as a critical step forward, though a minority said that defining terrorism was unnecessary in light of existing Islamic ideas. "The terrorist acts carried out by gangs around the world don't need a fatwa or a definition", said Moroccan historian and religious expert Driss Boukhar. "They are denounced in all religions, first and foremost by the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah." "It's not as much about brainwashing as it is about a malicious soul encouraging evil things," said Moroccan university student Jamal B. "This is expressly prohibited in the Qur'an, and we don't need all of this time to give an express definition of terrorism." Others told Magharebia that the fatwa was important, but delayed in arriving. Mauritanian imam Malainine Oud Sabar said the Islamic nation should have defined terrorism years ago, "as long as it's a reality that kills thousands of innocents in cold blood". "I firmly believe that the fatwa … is a binding sharia-based argument for all Muslims all over the world, given that Saudi Arabia is the centre of Islamic radiance and its scholars represent the elite of religious scholars," added the imam. "The Saudi council has apparently been much delayed in issuing its fatwa and defining 'terrorist operations'," said Ali Fadheel, a leader of Morocco's Party of Progress and Socialism. "However, they did well, because they took the time to review all religious references and sources, including the Holy Qur'an, so that their judgment wouldn't be haphazard." Many took the position that the fatwa marks an important change in how terrorism is defined and dealt with in the Islamic world. Tunisian rights activist Adnan Hasnaoui described the fatwa as "a very important, long- awaited step".
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