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Petraeus Lauds Saudi Fatwa Condemning Terrorism 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.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on board a Marine helicopter following the activation ceremony of U.S. Cyber Command on Fort Meade, Md., May 21, 2010. DoD photo by Cherie Cullen
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In a statement released last night from his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Petraeus noted the significance of a fatwa recently issued by Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars. A fatwa is a religious opinion, issued by an Islamic scholar concerning Islamic law.

Petraeus lauded the fatwa that, for the first time, specifically condemns and outlaws the financing of terrorism as a violation of Islamic law.

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

“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.

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Army Gen. David H. Petraeus

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U.S. Central Command



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