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Saudi scholars: Money seized from terrorists can be spent on charity

The fatwa dealt with the money collected illegally for charitable purposes within the Kingdom or abroad

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The Council of Senior Scholars on Wednesday issued a religious edict (fatwa) allowing the distribution of money seized from terror suspects among the needy.

The fatwa dealt with the money collected illegally for charitable purposes within the Kingdom or abroad, but not for funding terrorist operations, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

According to the fatwa, if the money was collected by terror suspects or people who posed a threat to national security from people's zakat (obligatory alms) or kaffarah (compensation), then it could be given to the beneficiaries of Zakat or kaffara in line with the Shariah principles. If the money was donated for a specific charitable purpose and it was possible to spend it for that purpose legally, then it should be spent for that purpose.

If the source of the money was unknown or doubtful and no specific spending purpose was assigned, then it could be distributed among the beneficiaries of zakat.

Fahd al-Majed, secretary-general of the council, said the fatwa was issued in line with a directive from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah following a clarification sought by the interior minister.

Meanwhile, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh warned against some groups, which are functioning in the name of Islam but whose activities do not comply with Islamic teachings.

While cautioning that some satellite channels and websites are creating confusion with regard to the activities of these groups, he underscored the need for holding fast to the moderate and right path followed by the well-known Islamic scholars. The grand mufti made the remarks during a meeting with officials, teachers and students at the Islamic University of Madinah.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 4, 2014.