Sheikh Mohamed Ali Ajalan, head of the Shura Council of the opposition Islah party --the largest Islamist party in Yemen and leader of the opposition-- said that al-Qaeda's actions have no legitimate basis in Islamic law.
Ajalan told Al-Shorfa that al-Qaeda's targeting of soldiers at security checkpoints and army personnel in the southern governorates of Abyan and Shabwa are acts requiring a confrontation.
He called on all segments of the population, including party leaders and sheikhs to stand up against al-Qaeda, and for the state to strike with an iron fist to protect its troops and combat al-Qaeda.
Al-Shorfa: What is your assessment of the recurring attacks taking place against soldiers?
Ajalan: These treacherous assaults against soldiers in Shabwa and Abyan are evil acts by all standards. It is impermissible to [spill] the blood of a Muslim unless he attacks and is an assailant, because attacking soldiers in particular and Muslims in general is not sanctioned by Islamic law or by other laws. I condemn the targeting of security personnel taking place in the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, as well as the silence of political forces in the area.
Al-Shorfa: You have called on the state to crack down on these offenders, especially in regard to their attacks on soldiers. Why?
Ajalan: Security is the state's responsibility first, and all groups should take part in this task, as it is everyone's responsibility. The protection of Muslim blood and lives is one of the state's most important duties. If this duty [is not fulfilled] life as a whole is disrupted. The state must thus strike with an iron fist to make its soldiers, citizens and roads secure, because security is the first duty demanded of the state.
Al-Shorfa: Security sources said that al-Qaeda was behind these attacks, and the organisation declared responsibility for these operations on more than one occasion.
Ajalan: In no instance is an attack on Muslim blood permissible—whoever the aggressor, whether by al-Qaeda or another group—so they must be countered. Moreover, al-Qaeda's methodology has no legitimate basis. We turn to God Almighty for the targeting of security personnel is a major sin, a serious offence and an assault on the greatest sanctity for God, which is blood and Muslims. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Your blood, your properties and your honour are sacred." Man is still within the bounds of his religion unless he sheds sacred blood. So how is it if this sacred Muslim blood [is shed] during the month of Ramadan, at a time when the gates of sedition are closed?
Those who carry out these criminal acts must not revert to biased, empty propaganda and commit such heinous crimes, which violate the sanctity of Muslims and Muslim blood—because when someone kills a person and defiles the land, it is as though he killed all people, and when someone gives life, it is as though he gives life to all people. It is impermissible to shed a Muslim's blood or violate his sanctity, whether he is civilian or military, unless he commits an outright act of disbelief, as the Prophet says, peace be upon him, [which is] declared and apparent in private and public.
Al-Shorfa: What do you say to those who remained silent about these crimes?
Ajalan: It is impermissible for any group, entity, or region to be complacent or silent about [these crimes], because doing so means they are complicit in the sin and this is defilement upon the land forbidden by God.
I call on all political forces—ruling and opposition—and sheikhs and tribes to stand as one behind the state, which holds the authority, the right and the ability to provide citizens with security. I also demand that the violation of this sanctity not be downplayed and that [they] declare their absolute rejection of involvement in such crimes because those who are complacent about it are complicit in the sin.
I call on the people of the provinces where these crimes and attacks are happening to stand by the state, as it is a legal duty of citizens in those areas to not hide a criminal because the criminal violates these sacrosanct values. Even if he passes onto holy ground, he must be cast out and exposed. How could it be otherwise?