On January 24, 2012, online jihadis posted on YouTube an audio clip of Saudi cleric Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Suhaybani in which he legitimized attacks on Western targets, including diplomats and airplanes, and praised Al-Qaeda. Al-Suhaybani, a former dean of the shari’a faculty at the Islamic University (IU) in Al-Madina, currently holds an official position as a lecturer at the Prophet’s Mosque in Al-Madina. Al-Suhaybani’s lectures can be found on the Saudi government website for the Prophet’s Mosque, www.haramain.gov.sa. Al-Suhaybani’s picture, it should be noted, is unavailable, as he refuses to be photographed for religious reasons.
Asked in the clip for his opinion regarding the appropriate response to “insults to the Prophet,” Al-Suhaybani answered that Muslims must muster their zeal and declare war on Westerners, attacking them in their embassies and on their airplanes. He explained that the Western states’ ambassadors do not merit protection by treaty, as diplomats traditionally do according to Islamic law, because they represent the government of a state that allows insults to the Prophet, thereby forfeiting such protection.