What fatwas are most often about

Here's what happens when you get a (presumably) Arab-American journalist to do a story about something to do with Islam: a balanced, nuanced story that shows the full complexity of the question at hand for an audience not familiar with the topic. And it reads well and has a saucy lead.
Fatwas: Muslim religious edicts are rarely about violence, war

Monday, May 22, 2006

By Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Imagine the latest videotaped message from Osama bin Laden. He's scowling and raising a finger, but instead of taking aim at Americans he's holding forth on the bleaching of Muslim women's eyebrows.

While most Westerners think of religious edicts -- or fatwas -- as orders to fight Americans and infidels, Muslim scholars, evangelists and spiritual leaders across the globe issue them on a daily basis -- on eyebrow bleaching and hundreds of other mundane topics.
Read on... Although the article doesn't dwell on it, it's interesting to contrast of how both Osama bin Laden and the various fatwa internet sites represent the globalization of fatwa-issuing -- you don't have to ask your local imam anymore. So what happens when an eminent sheikh with a website disagrees with your local imam, or even your country's Mufti?
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.