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News | May 23, 2010

Petraeus praises Saudi fatwa condemning terror financing

By Donna Miles , American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (May 22, 2010) – Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, praised Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders for taking a major step toward promoting broader counterterrorism cooperation  by their recent rejection of financing terrorism as un-Islamic.

Petraeus lauded the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia’s recent issuance of a fatwa that, for the first time, specifically condemns and outlaws the financing of terrorism as a violation of Islamic law.

A fatwa is a religious opinion, issued by an Islamic scholar concerning Islamic law.

The Saudi council’s most recent fatwa, issued last month in Riyadh, cites the Koran and lessons from the prophet Mohammed in declaring any means of financing terrorism a punishable crime.

Petraeus noted the significance of the fatwa in a statement released last night from his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

“This ruling makes clear that the struggle against terrorist financing is not just an American or Western concern, but a global threat,” he said. “In addition, the council's ruling buttresses with its interpretation of Islamic law the international legal provisions on financing of terrorism.”

In doing so, Petraeus said the council’s ruling “will bolster the existing counter-terrorist efforts with our Saudi partners and with other partners throughout the Muslim world.”

He praised the Saudi council’s “courageous decision” in issuing the fatwa.