Subj: Lebanon Shiite spiritual leader bans Muslims from war on any Muslim country
Date: 9/18/01 10:37:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time

September 18 11:43 PM SGT

Lebanon Shiite spiritual leader bans Muslims from war on any
Muslim country

BEIRUT (AFP) - The spiritual guide of pro-Iranian Lebanese
Shiites, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, issued a fatwa
(decree) Tuesday prohibiting Muslims from aiding the United
States in any war against any Muslim entity.

"It is prohibited for any Muslim party, be it a state, a
leader or a political organization from providing any
military, economic or security assistance to the United
States against any Muslim state or entity," Fadlallah said
in a statement.

The "verdicts issued by the Americans are based on
presumption and not on legal proof," the statement added, in
apparent reference to a US announcement that Saudi Islamic
militant Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect in the
devastating terrorist attacks that hit the United States
last week.

"The defense of American political interests requires any
sort of action that will restore to the United States its
prestige and reaffirm its military power over the oppressed
of the world," the statement continued.

Last Wednesday, a day after hijacked planes slammed into the
World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in
Washington, Fadlallah said he was "horrified" by those acts.

"Although we are hostile to the United States policy,
particularly toward the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic
peoples, we are horrified at these operations, which no
religion in the world supports," he said.

"We reject such methods, whoever is their author. According
to the Sharia (Islamic law), it is not allowed to face the
United States in such a way," he said in a statement.

Fadlallah said "nobody accepts that any people suffers like
the American people did.

"We had called for a boycott of American goods so that the
American Administration understands that the Islamic world
wants to punish it for its hostility toward the Palestinian
people and its support to Israel," he said.

"But we do not accept that the United States be confronted
with such methods," he said.

Fadlallah said the "authors of these acts are considered
twice criminal. First, because they have hijacked planes and
led their passengers to death, and second because they
targeted civilians and killed thousands of innocent people."

Fadlallah carries the title of "ayatollah," which is the
highest rank in the Iranian religious hierarchy. He is
considered to be close to the relatively liberal current of
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

Fadlallah was accused by the US media of links with the
hostage-taking operations of American nationals in Lebanon
in the 1980s, at the height of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil

In 1988, he escaped a powerful bomb attack in the
Shiite-dominant southern suburb of Beirut that killed 80
civilians, and which he blamed on the US Central
Intelligence Agency.