Fiqh Council of North America
Its 18 members issue religious rulings, resolve disputes, and answer questions relating to the Islamic faith. As outlined in its by-laws, the Council's primary objectives include: "To consider, from a Shari'ah perspective, and offer advice on specific undertakings, transactions, contracts, projects, or proposals, guaranteeing thereby that the dealings of North American Muslims fall within the parameters of what is permitted by the Shari'ah." The Council's opinions are not binding.
The Council's origins lie with the Religious Affairs Committee of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada in the early 1960s. The Committee evolved into the Fiqh Committee of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) after ISNA was founded in 1980, and then into the Fiqh Council of North America in 1986. The Council is still affiliated with ISNA.
Operation Green Quest
In 2002 the Council was searched by federal agents as part of Operation Green Quest, a task force created to track and disrupt terrorist financing. No arrests were made, and the Council denies any links to terror financiers, and has no official links to charities (the search was because a few board members publicly contributed to numerous Islamic charities in America and abroad).
The raids led to the convictions of two people, including Abdurahman Alamoudi, who worked for the SAAR Foundation. Alamoudi admitted that he plotted with Libya to assassinate the Saudi ruler and was sentenced to 23 years in jail.
- Terrorism: In July 2005, the Council issued a fatwa stating Islam's condemnation of certain terrorism and religious extremism. The fatwa said: 1) all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden), 2) Muslims are forbidden to cooperate with any individual involved in terrorism or violence, and 3) Muslims must cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of civilians.
The fatwa did not specifically address terrorism against military targets during a war such as in Iraq, and there is no mechanism for civil enforcement of the fatwa. Furthermore, it did not define "terrorism" or "civilians".
- Capital Punishment: The Council has issued a fatwa calling for a moratorium on Capital Punishment in the United States, based on the fact that several of the presupposed requirements for the carrying out of the law, according to Sharia, are not being met in most cases:
Islam is a complete, comprehensive, inter-related and inter-dependent way of living. As such, criminal law is only one aspect of it, aiming at protecting individual and society. It pre-supposes the full implementation of its other aspects. Before meting punishments for crimes, Islamic law requires the removal of the causes of such crimes. For example, social and economic justice is means of crime prevention, as they remove the causes and motives of many crimes. Even when this is done, due process of Islamic Law must be followed, including strict rules of evidence and the absence of any doubt or extenuating circumstances (shubuhaat) surrounding the crime. Furthermore, Islamic law recognizes the rights of the heirs of the victim to demand punishment or forgive the murderer with or without monetary compensation (a feature which is lacking in current secular Western criminal laws). Numerous reports point out to the presence of biases and inequalities in the implementation of capital punishment in the USA (especially due to racism). Therefore the FCNA (an affiliate of ISNA) supports an interim moratorium on capital punishment in cases where there is no coerced confession or in the absence of any shubuhaat in the Islamic legal sense (Fiqh). Meanwhile, all measures must be taken to deal with the problem of the roots by removing such inequities and biases.
Executive Committee and members
- Official Web Site
- Educational Addendum: Understanding Your Rights, "Muslim Americans And Shari'ah", by Robert D. Crane, Yusuf Talal and Robert D. Crane, IslamiCity
- U.S. Muslim Scholars Issue Edict Against Terrorism, report by Jason DeRose, NPR, July 28, 2005
- Glaberson, William (October 21, 2001). "Interpreting Islamic Law for American Muslims". NYTimes.com. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- "About Us". Fiqhcouncil.org. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- "FT.com – Special Reports / Attack on Terrorism". Specials.ft.com. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- Markon, Jerry, "Witness Is Silent in Terror Probe; Ex-Professor Says Grand Jury Testimony Would Endanger Him," The Washington Post, November 14, 2006, accessed January 27, 2010
- Gerstein, Josh, "Judge Dismisses Suit Questioning Federal Tactics," New York Sun, November 8, 2007, accessed January 27, 2010
- Gerstein, Josh, "A Prosecutor Is Called 'Relentless'," New York Sun, July 28, 2008, accessed January 27, 2010
- Heard on All Things Considered (July 28, 2005). "U.S. Muslim Scholars Issue Edict Against Terrorism". NPR. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- Jacoby, Jeff (August 18, 2005). "The real Muslim moderates – The Boston Globe". Boston.com. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- "General Fiqh Issues Articles". Fiqhcouncil.org. June 14, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2010.