Warning: this story contains sexually explicit material.
Over the past week, there’s been a nasty feud underway between a writer for Jihad Watch – a blog that exposes radical Islamic developments - and an anti-Israel website over the veracity of one outrageous-sounding fatwa.
It all started when Raymond Ibrahim – a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center – posted a story based on Arabic videos which he regularly translates for his columns. The TV clip he found of a Shiite cleric suggested that for radical jihadi Muslims, anal sex is permissible if it is in the service of a suicide mission in which explosives need to be hidden. Ibrahim explains:
Not only did the original "underwear bomber" Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri hide explosives in his rectum to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef—they met in 2009 after the 22-year-old holy warrior "feigned repentance for his jihadi views" — but al-Asiri apparently had fellow jihadis repeatedly sodomize him to "widen" his anus in order to accommodate the explosives— all in accordance with the fatwas [religious edicts] of Islamic clerics.
A 2010 Arabic news video that is making the rounds on the Internet gives the details. Apparently a cleric, one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, informed jihadis of an "innovative and unprecedented way to execute martyrdom operations: place explosive capsules in your anus. However, to undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives."
The video which can be found on YouTube has had more than 155,000 views as of this writing.
Ibrahim writes that jihadis asked for official fatwas on the matter since homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and carries the death penalty in some Muslim countries. Ibrahim adds:
Citing his desire for "martyrdom and the virgins of paradise," one jihadi, (possibly al-Asiri himself) asked another sheikh, "Is it permissible for me to let one of the jihadi brothers sodomize me to widen my anus if the intention is good?"
After praising Allah, the sheikh's fatwa began by declaring that sodomy is forbidden in Islam,
However, jihad comes first, for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it.
Cue Electronic Intifada, a stridently anti-Israel website that promotes the “one-state solution,” that is an Arab-majority state replacing Israel on territories including all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Blogger Benjamin Doherty called Ibrahim’s story a “vile Islamophobic hoax” and “pure nonsense:”
It is a hoax purveyed by someone affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an extreme right-wing organization whose founder and namesake is well-known for uncivil and racist attacks on liberal, progressive and leftist political groups.
Doherty believes that the person in the video - Abdallah al-Khallaf, host of the show “The Morals of the Prophets, Peace Be Upon Them” is actually trying to incite his Shiite audience against Wahhabi Sunni Muslims using a phony story. Doherty also claims the original text the presenter read on television “is written in a style commonly used for stories in which both the teller and listener know it is a joke or fiction.” Raymond Ibrahim dismisses the suggestion it was all a joke or that the story is a hoax.
Doherty calls Ibrahim’s column “racist trash” and points to the fact that Sheikh Abu al-Dema al-Qasab - who suggested the “innovative” explosives-hiding system in the vein of drug mules – is not actually a real person. The name translates to “Sheikh Bloody Butcher.”
But Ibrahim counters that this is a typical nom de guerre for jihadi spiritual leaders. Doherty wrote a letter to the site that first published Ibrahim’s column (Gatestone Institute), demanding it retract the piece. After The Middle East Forum examined the criticism and found “no evidence to substantiate the charges,” the Gatestone Institute decided to stand by Ibrahim’s piece.
MEMRI has also weighed in, posting a translation of an excerpt of the original video on which Ibrahim based his column and backing up the gist of the story. Electronic Intifada also has a problem with MEMRI which it calls “an outfit that disseminates highly selective and often distorted translations from Arabic-language media.” Here is the clip courtesy of MEMRI:
For his part, Ibrahim is swinging back, accusing Electronic Intifada of not offering “a shred of evidence” when disparaging his work:
In short, for all its triumphant howling, EI fails to deliver, abysmally. The facts remain: such a fatwa does exist; it is written exactly like a fatwa (despite EI’s intentional distortions); and a well-known Arabic program quoted it as fact—which is precisely what I originally reported in the first place.
That a religious authority – obscure as he or she may be – could condone suicide bombing in this novel and vile manner might be hard for any peace-loving individual to believe. But there have been some very unusual fatwas. Al-Arabiya listed the “weirdest fatwas” of 2011 last December, including a Moroccan cleric allowing sex with a just-deceased wife, a prohibition on the consumption of “Trinity-like” triangle pastries, and a prohibition on women eating phallic-shaped vegetables like cucumbers and carrots.
Is the sodomy-for-jihad fatwa real or hoax? Share your thoughts in the comments below.