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Clerics' statement to Taliban leadership

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The following are translated sections, provided by Reuters news agency, of the verdict issued by the Grand Council of Ulema, or Afghan Islamic clerics, to the Taliban leaders. It is a recommendation regarding Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, whom the United States believes to have been the force behind the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Bin Laden is living in Afghanistan and the U.S. wants him extradited to face trial.

"The nation of Afghanistan has always referred major issues to honorable ulema for a solution. The honorable ulema have always endeavored to find a solution to problems.

"...The ulema of Afghanistan, in the face of their heavy responsibility for the solution of the problems, and in the light of Islam's holy religion, endorse the following decision and verdict:

"The ulema of Afghanistan voice their sadness over deaths in America and hope that America does not attack Afghanistan, exerts complete patience and accuracy and investigates the issue in its totality.

"The ulema of Afghanistan demand of America that the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference investigate independently and precisely the recent events to clarify the reality and prevent harassment of innocent people.

"The U.N. and the OIC deliberate over the utterances of America's president who has said that this war will be a crusade. This news has hurt the feelings of Muslims and has posed a major threat to the world.

"In order to avoid the current tumult and also similar suspicion in the future, the high council of the honorable ulema recommends to the Islamic Emirate to persuade Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan whenever possible... and chose another place for himself.

"If in the light of the above-mentioned decisions, America does not agree and attacks Afghanistan, then, in the light of the sacred Shariah (law) the following verdict is presented:

"All books of our religious persuasion say that if infidels attack the soil of a Muslim country, jihad (holy war) becomes an order for the Muslims of that country..."

"If infidels invade an Islamic country and that country does not have the ability to defend itself, jihad becomes an obligation on all Muslims.

"If infidels attack the soil of Muslims they can, in time of need, ask Islamic and non-Islamic governments for help...."

"If at the time of America's attack, any Muslim, whether an Afghan or non-Afghan, cooperates with infidels, becomes an accomplice or a spy, that person is also punishable with death like the foreign invaders."






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