Syria Complains To UN About Sunni Leaders Issuing Fatwas for Jihad

By Donna Abu-Nasr

Syria’s Foreign Ministry said edicts issued by Arab Muslim scholars that call for jihad, or holy war, “complete the bloody approach” adopted by regional and Western countries toward Syria, the state-run SANA news agency said.

In a letter to the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry singled out several scholars, including Egyptian-born cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Saudi Mohammad Al-Areefi, for urging Sunni Muslims to take up arms against loyalists of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and its Lebanese ally, the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

These calls “aim to justify all acts of systematic murder, rape, massive killing, terrorist bombings” targeting Syrians and the demolition of the country’s infrastructure with the aim of destroying Syria and its culture, SANA said.

Syria holds those “scholars of sedition and instigation” and the governments that support them “directly responsible for the shedding of Syrians’ blood,” the ministry said in the letter, according to SANA.

Al-Qaradawi has called on Sunnis from his base in Qatar to fight a holy war in Syria while Al-Areefi gave a sermon in a Cairo mosque this month urging Sunnis to take up arms against Assad and Hezbollah.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at