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In a sternly-worded fatwa issued in Mecca earlier this week, seven Wahhabi Imams affiliated with the House of Saud excommunicated the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) operative known to the rest of the world as "Jihadi John". In recent months, the operative, Jihadi John, has been captured on video decapitating media correspondents and aid workers of American and British origins.
The fatwa, issued by the top echelon of Riyali Mullahs, claims that Jihadi John is an apostate because he has misconstrued the word, "beheading", owing to a spelling error in the prophet Muhammad's original teachings, the Hadith. According to the Hadith, the captors of infidels should engage in a proselytizing procedure, termed, "behealing." The Mullahs argue that Jihadi John should be converting their prisoners to Islam, forcibly or otherwise, for the "behealing", and not beheading them.
The spokesman for the House of Saud, the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia, has refused to comment on the fatwa. Mohammed ibn Tuglaq, a faculty member in the Department of Arabic Studies at the University of Riyadh, said that the royal family rarely "disagrees publicly with Riyali Mullahs" and is likely to support the fatwa." It also shows that Jihadi John does not understand the key nuances in Arabic words," said Tuglaq.
Wahhabism, an ultraconservative strain of Islam, originated in Saudi Arabia in the eighteenth century and continues to receive patronage from the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia.