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Fatwa as a practical aspect of Islamic Shari'a law is a nonbinding legal response that is sought by an individual questioner (mustafti) from a jurisconsult (mufti) who practices the act of “fatwa giving” (ifta). Made infamous by events such as those surrounding Ayatullah Khomeini's issuance in 1989 of a fatwa against the publication of the Satanic Verses, charging its author Salman Rushdie with blasphemy and pronouncing a death sentence against him, and the “Declaration of Jihad” (1996) and “Declaration of Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders” (1998), authored by Osama bin Laden (d. 2011) and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the fatwa is not limited to threats of punitive violence or warfare. Fatwas are used for confirming correct ritual practice and social behavior and are representative of the importance ...

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