Comment: Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing is unjustified

Barack Obama’s administration and lawmakers may cheer the killing of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. But this is not how legal scholars, libertarians and millions of Muslims feel.

Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico on 22 April 1971, was an American Islamic scholar who was an engineer and educator by training. He was killed in a drone attack in a remote Yemeni town on 30 September 2011 by US forces.

To some, he is a Muslim hero, a mujahid (fighter for the sake of Allah) and a great Islamic scholar. His lectures have inspired hundreds of followers. One reason why many people admired him was that he was talented in delivering Islamic lectures in fluent English. This made him famous not only in US and Europe, but also in the Maldives.

There are only few Maldivians who agree with US government officials’ allegations against al-Awlaki. According to US president Obama, he was the leader of external operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a statement which many Maldivians openly deny.

“The death of Awlaki is a major blow to Al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate,” said Obama after the drone attack. “He took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans … and he repeatedly called on individuals in the United States and around the globe to kill innocent men, women and children to advance a murderous agenda.”

According to US officials al-Awlaki allegedly preached to a number of al-Qaeda members and affiliates. Among them were three of September 11 hijackers, alleged “Christmas Day bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.

US government has made a list of allegations against al-Awlaki, but none of these allegations was ever made in court.

Al-Awlaki was an American citizen. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to life of American citizens in the absence of due process of law to determine when to withdraw that right. The Fifth Amendment stipulates that no citizen shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”.

Article 11(a) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence”.

But al-Awlaki was executed without any charges, without a trial or without giving any chance to defend. Even Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was given his constitutional rights before his execution. This raises questions about the legal authority under which the US government can target its own citizens for assassination.

Al-Awlaki’s father Nasser al-Awlaki has publicly announced his son’s innocence.
“I am now afraid of what they will do with my son,” he said speaking to CNN earlier. “He’s not Osama bin Laden, they want to make something out of him that he’s not.”
“He has been wrongly accused, it’s unbelievable. He lived his life in America; he’s an all-American boy”.

US officials have continuously accused al-Awlaki for preaching radical Islam, which gives endorsement for Jihad (struggle) and violence. This inspired new recruits to Islamist militancy, especially though internet (YouTube), according to US officials. His videos were removed from YouTube on 3 November 2010.

This is the only evidence which the US government has presented to the media against al-Awlaki in order to prove he is a radical, an extremist and a terrorist.

If this is the case, the US may label not only al-Awlaki but other Islamic scholars in future for giving “radical” sermons, because sermons are based on the verses from Quran and Hadith of prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

In Quran, there are nearly 41 verses which speak about Jihad, and many more verses against Jews and Christians.

For example, Quran 4:89: “They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliya’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad pbuh). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya’ (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them”.

Similarly, Quran 2:191: “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers”.

Al-Awlaki’s story has told the world today that US government is the judge, jury and executor of all Muslims.

Ibrahim Mohamed is a Parliamentary Reporter at the Peoples Majlis of the Maldives.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


73 thoughts on “Comment: Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing is unjustified”

  1. Its so easy to establish facts in this case. Just go to kalaamullah or aswatalislam and download Anwar Awlaki's lectures and listen and make a judgment by your own. You will find a true scholar of Islam who is knowledgeable and on haqq.

    The sheikh walked the talk and was martyred in the path of Allah. May Allah bless him and raise him!

  2. Religions are the single most used tool to justify intimidation, hatred, killings, mass murder in the written and unwritten history of civilization.

    Sad truth is, all of them are man-made, yet each claims divine hands and guidance at the early stages.

    If any did have divine blessings, why are humans executing Gods wrath? Is God not capable of wiping-off those who do not follow his absolute path? Think about this for a change.

  3. I don’t know why people like mullahs are inspired by Quran after reading such a violence and hate and why for a moment they consider these are words of their creature, what a pathetic people who adore these verses.
    I am sure no human being will believe these are from supreme power that holds the authority of making the universe unless that person is psychopath.

  4. The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    When Osama bin Laden was killed, Maldivian media reported him as a martyr, a hero, and other such titles. They got quotes from random people on the street, just to make their case clearer. And Osama was a genocidal psychopath, so if Maldivians make a lesser member of Al Qaeda their hero, I won't be surprised. This has been said very often on platforms involving Maldivian non-muslims and muslim debates: "The majority of 'moderate' muslim Maldivians are closet extremists."

    Who would be surprised though? 2004's tsunami was considered the fault of the poor islanders by the wahhabees, and that changed the entire Maldives within a couple of months.

  5. I do not believe Awlaki's execution followed due process either, and that the Obama administration has quite probably violated American law in targeting him.

    At the same time, I do not regret his death. So when you say 'millions of Muslims', count me out.

    Awlaki was no 'great Islamic scholar' nor a 'Muslim hero' nor a great 'Mujahid' as the author is at pains to prove.

    He was a petty hate-monger who asked for war, and got it. Plain and simple. I have no sympathies for the man.

  6. This article is a total crap. It seems Ibrahim Moahmed know nothing about Qur'an. Some of Quranic verses is reveled for a time being. And to know the exact meaning of Qur'an you need to know when and why a certain verses was reveled. Also you have to be an Arabic expert. You just merely wrote some American Propaganda Gossip and added a quruanic verses. This dose not prove your point. Well for the people who do not know about Quran will believe what you say.
    @ Naeembe
    I think you do not know there are lot of people who believe in Quran. And their numbers are increasing day by day. Are you saying those people are not humans. To say that you must be blind. You are so blind that you do not see what is going on this world.
    Look at america and europe. With all those development they are going down slowly. Their 80% youths are alcohol addicts, gays, lesbian. And Americans are doing some useless wars under Jewish master minds. And you may not heard their are lot of people on new york and other big city street against the government. World the side of the super power is changing. American are going down. Muslims are coming back to their religion. And they are coming together. They only need a good muslim leader. In other side chinese faces have a little smile and their smile is getting big. I think these guys might be the tribe of gog and mog. Hope you will be in this world to see it.
    @ Ahmed Saleem
    Show me a book like Qur'an. Why are not other men capable of writing a book like quran in this modern world.
    And from the quran show me one mistake. I can show you 100 from other religions. Oh you are a atheist. Once you were a monkey. You have got evolved. Are you guys still evolving. I wonder what might be next stage. It must be a kind of super thing write. Like super man. What crap...!!!???

  7. No one is safe, no matter where they are in the world. The US regards itself as "exceptional", therefore above the law. The US has also learnt from Israel, which as we know controls US foreign policy, that it is a simple matter to kill those who are seen as enemies..even if there is no legal evidence against them.

  8. comon Ibrahim Mohamed, IF (IF) koran has such verses calling for violence and claim innocent lives then it should be burnt !!!

  9. Why is the author not worried when Al-Qaeda or the Taleban are the judge, jury and the executioner of other Muslims? Where is the due process of law when innocent (or even guilty) people are killed in a suicide attack? Was Ahmad Shah Masood, hero of the war against USSR, killed by the Taleban in a suicide attack after a fair trail?

    Why is it that an action becomes wrong when committed by the US or the West and is not wrong when done on a daily basis by the Mullahs in Afghan, Pakistan and elsewhere? Isn't this the very definition of moral relativeness that fundamentalists of all religions love to accuse liberals and leftists of?

    Yes, what the US did is wrong. But so is what Al-Awlaki and his followers did and continue to do. To condemn one and not other shows your hypocrisy! And if you read the Quran it will show that hypocrites (Munafiqs)like you are condemned to hell!

  10. Wonder what would be the reaction from US Embassy. This article is very controversial and linked to internal security of US.

  11. Americans are the people who have messed the world with undue influence.

  12. @ Yaamyn,

    You only claims that you are not a Muslim, that means you are not in that "million".

  13. Suraib,

    "You only claims that you are not a Muslim, that means you are not in that “million”."

    Please link me to the specific place where I have made this claim.

    Otherwise, keep your fancy theories to yourself.

  14. hey Yaameen. nobody is counting you as a muslim! You have long ceased to be a muslim. Just because your name is yameen doesn't make you a muslim. ok?
    As for Awlaki, he was a million times more educated than you and who are you to criticize him? Just some crappy, ignorant, unemployed hate-filled blogger foul mouthing muslims? permanently attached to minivan news comments.

    do everyone a big favour. Do a google search of Awlaki's works and compare that to your hate-filled blog. How big is your following compared to Anwar? Very small e nu? Its because of your ignorance that you say bad things about Anwar!

    Its killing you inside to know that there are knowledgeable muslims here and there and you just cannot take it. Too much hatred you have inside your brain.

  15. Awlaki was a traitor, plain and simple. He was a traitor to his nation, America; and he was a traitor to Islam through his propagation of violence and hatred towards innocents.

    I do not consider him to be a hero, nor a great scholar. Nor do I consider him to be a representative of Islam, a religion of peace. So count me out of the "millions" who condemn his death.

    And if the US has, in your opinion, become the "judge, juror and executioner of all Muslims" as you put it, I say it's a natural response to those Muslims who consider themselves above the laws and themselves the judges, jurors and executioners of innocent men and women and children, and continue to kill, rape and propogate hatred. You can shout about divine rights as much as you want, but no one's gonna give a rat's ass.

    So for Awlaki's death, I say good riddance. Well done America.

  16. You claim that there are only few Maldivians who agree with US government officials’ allegations against al-Awlaki and you also claim that many Maldivians openly deny that al-Awlaki was the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. I would like to know what your claims are based on. Was a survey/poll conducted and if it was, was it conducted among a representative sample? And how many Maldivians make 'many' Maldivians?

  17. I do not see where Yamyn says he is not a Muslim.
    I am a Muslim too and I think it is good that he has been killed.
    That man and others like him who kill for the sake of killing are not Martyrs but blood thirsty murders and should be eliminated.
    Islam forbids fighting for the sake of fighting. It forbids the killing of innocents. Yet this is what Al Queida and the rest of these terrorists are doing most of the time.

    Are these enemy soldiers that they are killing in Pakistan? No they are innocent Pakistani Muslim civilians.
    Are they enemy combatants that they are killing in Iraq? No they are innocent Muslim civilians

    You have the gall to call these murders " Martyrs"? You should be ashamed to call yourself a Muslim. Islam the religion of peace as Allah sent to us through his Holy Prophet and yet you call people who also kill their innocent brothers and sisters martyrs in the name of Islam?

    I am a Maldivian and I know that all of my friends and family are completely against these terrorists who kill innocent people period.
    Whether the US is breaking their own law is a different story and that has got nothing to do with us Maldivians as we have our own government, The Majlis, The Judges and everyone else breaking our own laws and it is better to clean our own house before pointing the finger at others.

  18. @ yaamyn

    Please compare these before you yell at Anwar al-Awlaki.

    1. Who holds a stronger education certificate?

    2. Who is from the most developed nation?

    3. Who speaks English more fluent?

    4. Who owns more asset, money and capital?

    5. Who has more followers and supporters?

    6. Who is famous?

    7. Who gets media coverage?

    So, please shut your STUPID mouth with your STUPID blog dear YAAMYN.

    We Maldivians are with Anwar al-Awlaki.

  19. anwar,

    I can't even pretend to have a decent discussion with closed-minded idiots like you.

    You think my blog is hate mongering and that I am "full of hate" (of course, you continue to fail to bring forward any specific article where I have done this) but you speak in defense of this Awlaki guy - whose videos I have watched previously, and who openly calls for war?

    Seriously? People like you need to get your head inspected.

    Like the comment above says, Awlaki was a traitor. He was a violent-minded hate monger and not apologetic about it.

    By even Zakir Naik logic, his killing was more than justified - if not exactly legal under American law. But surely, you're not going to defend 'infidel American constitution' now are you?

    The author has presented an absolutely terrible argument.

    Because America has executed this guy, it is "the judge, jury and executor of ALL Muslims"

    How does he make the jump from the execution of one violent fanatic to "executor of ALL Muslims?

    There are tens of thousands of Muslims living perfectly happily in the states with more freedom, opportunities and rights than they get in so called "Islamic nations" like Saudi Arabia.

    The author has failed to mention where he gets his statistics from when he uses phrases like 'millions of Muslims' and 'only a few Maldivians..blah blah'.

    This is straight from the wahhabi school of debate where the indignant author/speaker simply rolls of fantastic assertions and the rest of us are just supposed to take his word for it.

    I'm sorry. I refuse to do that.

    There are plenty of activists and constitutional lawyers and journalists around the world who have taken up the issue of the legality of the process. People like Glenn Greenwald, who are worried that the erosion of things like due process might erode democracy in their country.

    I agree to the legality argument. But I do not regret this violent preacher's death.

    And the article is just a flimsy attempt at trying to further the wahhabi agenda of declaring a war between America and "all Muslims".

    Finally, I do not remember anybody putting you in charge of deciding whether or not I am a Muslim. Please do not put yourself on such a self-aggrandizing pedestal. Come back to down to Earth, then we can have a civilized conversation.

  20. We need to understand that this complete unconstitutional, our fore fathers fought and died because they were losing rights that they believed are given to us the day we are born such as due process and a fair trial. They set up the checks and balances so that they government does not exceed it's limit of power. But when we allow them to kill one of our own people WITHOUT HARD CORE FACTS, then we are going to lose the America our fathers washington and his friends created.

    And to those speculating about the Quran do the research about these Quran quotes, read the verses before and after and then do some research. You listen to your media far too much to lazy to do your own investigation.

  21. Yameen the kaafir,
    just because you are ignorant does not mean others are ignorant:

    This Awlaki guy did doctoral work at George Washington University in Washington.

    he is not a violent hothead as you would like to believe. Just listent to some of his lectures attentively instead of saying i have watched some of his videos. Don't make me say you are a liar! But what is a liar to a kaafir?

    Finally: America does lots of good things and bad things, and this time
    America did a very bad thing by killing a person for his belief. Do not try to defend everything that is done against islam. That will be overkill.

  22. In one minute Minvan you are one way with Islam the other minute you are the other way. I am so confused now!!

  23. @ yaamyn

    "I can’t even pretend to have a decent discussion with closed-minded idiots like you."

    So you do pretend sometimes? But you will call others hypocrites? lol

  24. True, we need to kick Yaamyn, Hilath and Simon from This Islamic Country.


  26. John,

    The first 3 words of your comments show that you are one of those people who think the religion doesn't apply to you - just because you like to loudly call yourself one in public.

    Repeating your assertion a thousand times might make this a fact in your mind, but really - it does nothing for me.


    No. I'm not going anywhere.

  27. Another bloody useless writer given fame by MN: the so called Independent News of Maldives for Apostesses.

  28. The outrage-prone hypocrites need to read Boava's comment earlier in this thread:

    "Why is the author not worried when Al-Qaeda or the Taleban are the judge, jury and the executioner of other Muslims?

    Seriously? How many innocent Muslims have the Taliban killed with bombs in mosques and market places?

    Why doesn't it automatically follow from the author's strained logic that they are now the executioners of 'ALL Muslims'?

    But I forget, hypocrites cannot reason. They can only respond to criticism with unilaterally declaring others 'kaafirs' and 'atheists'.

  29. Al-Awlaki’s story has told the world today that US government is the judge, jury and executor of all Muslims.
    Ibrahim Mohamed

    when Al -Queda kills ..they are judge.jury and executors too .
    Death was a fitting reward to this terrorist.

  30. WHERE IS SALIM JEFREY WAHEED?? I HEARD HE IS IN NY? HE IS NOW COMMENTING AND ALSO POSTING ARTICLES IN DIFFERENT NAMES! I heard he is the recruit of ASIA FOUNDATION to convert Maldives to christian state!! His father and many top brass is in the network!! this article is to identify the so called "terrorist"!! Saleem seriously think ur father can be president?? I heard this chap has a business card which say's resident of Vice President Palace!!

  31. al-Awlaki's killing was unjustified, yes. It was illegal. And it is illegal whether he was a Muslim or not.

    What the United States did was wrong - all the hopes that Obama would respect the rule of law went out the sea with the extra-judicial killing of Osama and with that of al-Awlaki.

    But, why the need to say that by acting in this unjust manner the US has become “judge, juror and executioner of all Muslims”? It is an act against all humans who respect the rule of law, not just Muslims - why not see it as a human issue rather than a religious one?

    Why not argue against the US on behalf of humanity at large, instead of putting yourself into a self-made group, and declare you and you alone is being harmed by the US policies?

    Is this the only recruitment tool left now? Are we being called to Jihad? Can we just stick to the rule of law instead? And if we want to criticise America -- and there's a lot to criticise - why can't we do it based on reason, and not on religion?

  32. Yaamyn, best policy is to ignore the ignoramuses. Your blog touches a lot of good issues that need to be highlighted in today's Maldivian society. I follow your blog with earnest.

  33. "At the same time, I do not regret his death. So when you say ‘millions of Muslims’, count me out."

    lolol. you're kinda funny.
    am I spelling hypocrisy right?

  34. @ Dhon Dhee Dhee

    You must be brilliant. All knowing. God must have bestowed upon you prophethood. Your own harem of young boys and virgin girls for yourself.
    Good for you!

    as far as I am concerned you are an idiot. A ranting idiot. You claim faultlessness in the book. One would hardly find any in any text that can be molded to what ever the reader could wish. You say 'most merciful' endlessly. Wonder what happened to mercy, when millions are wiped out in natural disasters. It must have been the naked tourists on the beaches of club-med, that made the tsunami hit thaa vilufushi. Explain that.

    I don't care about the book, it has no basis. Neither does any other religious book. To compare and say mine has lesser errors is idiotic. It is illogical.

    You are ignorant. Your religion is propagated by Arabian desert snakes to ensure you bow down and lick clean their faeces every day. Nothing else.

    I will watch tv, take pictures, listen to music etc. Until I die. I do not have guilty feeling in doing these activities. But you are prohibited to do any of these, yet you do too. With guilty feeling. If you do not feel guilty then you are a hypocrite. Because they are not allowed in your demented religion.

  35. According to Ann Coulter, an American columnist:

    "We should invade [Muslim/Arab] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war."

  36. Everyone knows how corrupt the government of America is. If they want, they can invade Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia ...etc. They feel that they are the rulers of the world.

  37. @Dhon Dhee Dhee.
    I think your logic of quantity to substantiate your claim is unrealistic. The majority of people in the world are poor, does that means poverty is better than the rich. Growth is always not a sign of health as you see the cancers is growing rapidly today but you can’t say cancer is good thing. You claim Muslims are increasing in numbers what is your analytical base. Is it based on procreation, because Muslims have no limit in reproduction as they believe it is Allah’s wish? If their numbers are increasing like a colony of ant, you can’t prove that Muslims are right. Secondly why you always shoot your anger at Europe and America if someone talks negative about Islam? Why don’t you start thinking why America and Europe has grown to be happy and prosperous nation and learn from them their positive sides? Also you seem that you are too mesmerized by the beauty of Quran and believe in fantasies. Lot of Muslims leaders, like Saddam Hussain, Qaddafi, Bin Ladin were humiliated and destroyed because of this false ideology of leading the world by Muslims. The only way Muslims can shine is if they leave their beautiful Quran to be a mere religious book to mumble only and join the rest of humanity. Instead of following it as guidance to human being

  38. The verse (4:89) is misused in the article. The verse refers to hypocrites, and if they commit mutiny or declare war against Muslims. And also when you read the verse before and nest to the refereed verse you know that if they declare peace Muslims should not kill them. See the verses:

    Why should you divide yourselves into two groups regarding hypocrites (among you)? GOD is the one who condemned them because of their own behavior. Do you want to guide those who are sent astray by GOD? Whomever GOD sends astray, you can never find a way to guide them.

    They wish that you disbelieve as they have disbelieved, then you become equal. Do not consider them friends, unless they mobilize along with you in the cause of GOD. If they turn against you, you shall fight them, and you may kill them when you encounter them in war. You shall not accept them as friends, or allies.

    Exempted are those who join people with whom you have signed a peace treaty, and those who come to you wishing not to fight you, nor fight their relatives. Had GOD willed, He could have permitted them to fight against you. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then GOD gives you no excuse to fight them.

    It is a pity that the author have taken the verses out of context to mean his own desire.

  39. Similarly the author has taken the verse 2:191 out of context. It you see the verse before 191 it says to fight those who attack you only and not to be the aggressor. Verse 191 refers to those who attack the Muslims. Verse 192 advices the Muslims to stop fighting if the aggressor declares peace.

    See the verses:
    You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
    You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

    If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

  40. Oh boo hoo. Why the bloody hell do we all have to get so damned worked up about this? Awlaki wasn't Maldivian. And whether he was a Muslim isn't any of our business, given that that's between him and Allah. And it wasn't like he was sitting at home doing nothing for them to kill him; he was inciting hatred and calling for war. Well, he got war. And he lost. And the so called "Muslim world" will lose as well so long as Muslims continue to put men like Awlaki and bin Laden on pedestals and treat them like heroes. Muslims would be better off swearing off war and taking to peace and diplomacy and nation building. And that's pretty much what the prophet did as well. He went with peace and diplomacy. So why can't we?

  41. Zayd
    WHERE AND WHEN DID AWLAKI INCITE HATRED? Why you guys parroting everything you read on media. For your info Awlaki did not incite anybody to do anything. He just merely explained in detail the finer points of islamic law. He did not shun subjects like jihad like other scholars. He was a true muslim scholar and he walked th talk. Nor did he lost by being martyred. Infact he attained the highest reward by being a respected sheikh and a mujahid.
    Following rumors blindly you are just making yourself like a sheep. For God's sake download some lectures of Anwar Awlaki and listen to it and make your own f*****g descision.


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