I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but some pretty angry emails have reached me about this suggestion, which was included in today’s edition of NRO’s new weekly wrap-up of the news of the week. Included in these, one emailer has pasted a response by Hugh Fitzgerald (via Robert Spencer at Dhimmi Watch), to a the same suggestion recently made by Tom Friedman of the NYTimes.
Fitzgerald notes that Sistani’s website, in its discussion of Islamic law, outlines a list of things that are najlis (meaning unclean). The list is interesting, and includes kafir (meaning those who do not accept Islam) in a group that also includes the following: urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors, and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats najasat” [i.e., unclean things].
I checked Sistani’s website, and Fitzgerald is substantially correct. Sistani actually includes the following in his definition of kafir:
An infidel i.e. a person who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness, is najis. Similarly, Ghulat who believe in any of the holy twelve Imams as God, or that they are incarnations of God, and Khawarij and Nawasib who express enmity towards th e holy Imams, are also najis. And similar is the case of those who deny Prophethood, or any of the necessary laws of Islam, like, namaz and fasting, which are believed by the Muslims as a part of Islam, and which they also know as such.
As regards the people of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who do not accept the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (Peace be upon him and his progeny), they are commonly considered najis, but it is not improbable that they are Pak. [Pak is defined as clean, the opposite of najis] However, it is better to avoid them….
The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis. …
Given modern standards for the Nobel prize, this coarse view of humanity hardly puts Sistani out of contention. Regrettably, holding such beliefs also leaves any Muslim easily eligible for the modern designation of “moderate.” In any event, while I’m glad Sistani has criticized the rioting, it is a sad reflection of where we’re at that mere criticism of the patently atrocious should be the occasion of high praise. I respectfully disagree that the world would be a better place if Sistani were deemed Nobel material.