[Updated] Cleric Denies Issuing Fatwa Allowing Gang Rape

Tue, January 1, 2013

Editor’s note: would like to inform our readers that the veracity of the story below has been called into question. The story was first reported in a number of Middle Eastern news outlets, (, PressTV and the Lebanese Arabic-language TV station Al Jadeed) but the cleric himself has since released a YouTube video in which he denied making the comments.

Al-Arifi is a well-known, popular and hard-line cleric in (Sunni) Saudi Arabia. It is possible that Al-Arifi is telling us the truth. Sectarian baiting through false stories is rampant in the Sunni-Shia world of intense hate and rivalries, especially when it comes to the civil war in Syria. Alawite Shias (aligned with Iran and Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad) and Sunni jihadist rebels (aligned with Saudi Arabia) are fighting it out, unfortunately both committing unspeakable atrocities on the way.

It is also possible that Al-Arifi made the statements and then later retracted them under pressure, possibly from the Saudi government who has been trying in recent years to present an image of modernity to the Western world.

Al-Arifi has a history of making outrageous statements and retracting them, as in the case last October when he called for the Emir of Kuwait to step down, saying he was not qualified for the job and didn’t satisfy the religious conditions of an Islamic ruler.

Al-Arifi’s comments – perceived as interfering in Kuwaiti domestic affairs  caused an uproar and outrage in Kuwait, prompting Al-Arifi to retract his statements.

What is significant is that, based on Al-Arifi’s previous statements regarding what is and is not allowed in Islam, this currently reported “fatwa” from Al-Arifi would not be surprising.

In speaking about the "beauty" of a Muslim giving his life fighting infidels, Al-Arifi said in a well-documented video, “There is no doubt that a person whom Allah enables to sacrifice his soul, and to fight for the sake of Allah has been graced with a great honor … Devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of his religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer.”

Just in case we are unclear about who these infidels are, Al-Arifi tells us in the same video, "By Allah, the infidel countries today – the U.S. and its allies – dare to fight the Muslims, to rape their women and turn them into widows and to inflict their corruption on Islam and the Muslims on a daily basis…"

In another well-documented video, Al-Arifi gives instruction on how to beat a wife. When, according to the cleric, a man has to convey: " 'Woman, it has gone too far. I can’t bear it anymore,' " Al-Arifi tells his audience how she may be beaten. He may "not make her face look ugly" and "He must beat her where it will not leave marks," like on the hands and face. Also, Al-Arifi instructs, "He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child, slapping them right to left." apologizes if our original story below was not correct. Although we have been attacked as being anti-Islam, this false representation is a smokescreen to prevent vital information from being disseminated. Our purpose and goal remains, as always, to factually report to our readers the events in today’s world regarding the phenomena of radical Islam.

A Saudi Arabian imam, who is a very influential cleric in jihadist circles, has issued a fatwa (religious edict) that essentially allows all jihadists fighting in Syria to rape women.

Related: Raquel Evita Saraswati: Combating Abuse of Women

Muhammed al-Arifi, a Wahhabi religious cleric,  officially calls this act an “intercourse marriage” that can last only a few hours – “in order to give each fighter a turn” -- and restricts the men to Syrian females at least 14 years old, widowed or divorced.

Al-Arifi, expressed his annoyance at the "warriors of Islam" being denied sexual pleasures while fighting in Syria “alongside the armed opposition forces” for the past two years.  He said this fatwa "solves [their] sexual problems" and “boosts the determination of the mujahideen in Syria and is considered a duty to enter paradise for those females who enter such marriages.”

The Arabic language news site reports that critics of Al-Arifi have expressed anger about the fatwa, saying that it permits the exploitation of Syrian women through rape.

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