2,062. 6/14/2001

Journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave interviewed Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for an article run by UPI (United Press International) on June 14, 2001. “Responding to a question about bin Laden’s threats to the United States, Omar explained that theologically this was impossible. ‘Bin Laden is not entitled to issue fatwas as he did not complete the mandatory twelve years of Koranic studies to qualify for the position of mufti,’ he told Borchgrave. ‘Only muftis can issue fatwas. …[Bin Laden] is not a mufti and, therefore, any fatwa he may have issued are illegal and null and void.’ He used similar reasoning to explain why he would not expel bin Laden: Afghan and Muslim hospitality, and bin Laden’s written pledge not to attack any other country from his Afghan base. In addition, Omar stated without further elaboration that if the government and people of Afghanistan were to change their position on bin Laden, ‘many problems would result.’ “

 – Roy Gutman, How We Missed the Story, Page 249

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