I.P.O. Information Service

Muslim scholars say "hijackers' letter" unauthentic

Tehran, 2 October 2001 (IRNA)

Several Muslim scholars and specialists have questioned the authenticity of a letter the American FBI claims was found in the luggage of suspects in the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Sheikh Nayef Rajoub, a prominent Islamic leader in the southern West Bank, said in an interview with IRNA Tuesday that the phraseology used in the letter cast serious doubts on its authenticity.

"In Islamic diction, such phraseology and style are not used.  Religious Muslims don't speak or write in this way."

Rajoub said he was convinced the letter might have been written by some poor experts on Islam.

"This is very grave, it would be one of the greatest falsification in history."

Another Muslim scholar, Muhammed Hurub, from Bethlehem, said the style of the letter was "un-Islamic."

"A real Muslim wouldn't be thinking of virgins of paradise when he embarks on martyrdom. He would be thinking of meeting his Lord and be accepted by Him."

Hurub said the instructions in the letter about "clean clothes and clean shoes, and the last day in life and about dispossessing victims of their belongings all suggest a definite foul play."

"This is not the way Muslims speak or think, there is a mysterious element here, and the FBI knows it for sure."

Doubts about the authenticity of the "letter" are not confined to religious scholars and linguistic experts.

Most Palestinian newspapers also questioned the credibility of the letter.

The semi-official Palestinian daily newspaper al-Ayyam wrote Tuesday that "whoever reads and examines the alleged letter will have no doubts as to its real author: it is those suspicious falsifiers who never wasted any time in distorting the image of Arabs and Muslims."

Writing under the caption "who wrote the letter?" the paper described as "claptrap" the alleged instructions to kill people and dispossess them of their valuables because this is a sunna of the Prophet.

"What martyr would be thinking of worldly gains when a few moments separated him from death?"

The paper concluded by urging Muslim leaders to retort and refute the malicious calumnies.