Reprinted from YnetNews.com.
A senior Iranian cleric, who is known as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor, has urged followers to continue suicide attacks against Israelis, including children. Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah, considered one of the Islamic Republic's most radical clerics, issued a religious edict on his website whereby suicide attacks are not only legitimate but are a must for every Muslim, a special paper by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows.
The senior cleric was responding to a question from a follower regarding the difference between "martyr's death" and "suicide." The man, who wrote anonymously, noted that "some people say that martyrdom operations are considered suicide and that they are haram (forbidden) because they contradict Islam."
In response, Mesbah expressed his regret that his follower has fallen victim to "propaganda of the enemies of Islam." He added that the follower was wasting his time instead of focusing on "uprooting the Zionist regime."
"When protecting Islam, the Muslim people depend on martyrdom operations. It not only is allowed, but even is an obligation," Mesbah wrote.
The follower presented another question regarding Islam's position on harming Israelis, wondering whether Hamas and Jihad actions against Israeli civilians are forbidden. He also asked: "How about the Israeli children killed in such attacks?"
The Iranian Ayatollah did not see fit to forbid the killing of children, only noting that Israelis can be harmed unless they openly express their objection to their government's position. He added that even in such cases, harming civilians is permissible if "they are used as human shield and fighting the aggressors depends on attacking those civilians."
Beyond these insights, the cleric did not offer further instructions and failed to censure the killing of children. Notably, for the followers of Mesbah, his words are considered as a binding religious edict. On several occasions in the past, Iranian President Ahmadinejad also spoke in favor of "martyrdom acts."