Mohamed Said Ramadan al-Booty is- err, was a Sunni Islamic cleric and a staunch ally of Syrian dictator/president Bashar al-Assad. Though I still don’t believe in karma, if such a thing exists, it bit al-Booty in the booty – hard. An author of a book explaining why questioning sharia was the most dangerous sin and a staunch opponent of Israel and America, al-Booty had called for suicide bombing against the nations in 2006 and 2010. In March 2013, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside al-Booty’s mosque, killing the cleric and 41 others.
The conflict which led to the attack on al-Booty’s mosque is driven by an ideological divide in the Islamic community: the Sunnis and Shias can’t seem to get along. The Syrian government of Assad is Alawite (Shia-ish), and the al-Qaeda-linked militants trying to topple the government are predominantly Shiite (and full of Shiite as well), with amny of those from outside of Syria being Sunni. al-Booty, in opposition to the rebels, cited verses from Islam’s holy texts that state that sixty years under a flawed ruler is better than one night of anarchy.
“I used to be one of those that did not support acts that could be described as adventurous, like destroying American targets, blowing them up, but now… I hold that people who cannot stand with the Islamic resistance, but can carry out, in their countries and in other places, actions that would in some way paralyze this enemy [Israel and America] – they should indeed paralyze the enemies’ interests, and destroy their facilities, wherever they may be…” al-Booty is a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. He knows what is considered acceptable and forbidden in Islam, and jihad against the unbelievers is definitely the former. “There is a form of terrorism that is legitimate – a terrorism that is necessary and may even be described as sacred.”