Is it permissible for the resistance groups to detain foreign journalists and other people involved in the media, who are present for media coverage and other humanitarian missions?

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, in:
Religious Authority: 
Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Shinqiti
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Is it permissible for the resistance groups to detain foreign journalists and other people involved in the media, who are present for media coverage and other humanitarian missions?

One of the rules of conduct of Jihad in Islam that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) highly stressed is "Do not kill a woman, a child, an old man, or a monk in his monastery; do not cut down trees." In another version of the hadith he is reported to have said, "Do not kill traders or farmers."

All of these hadiths mean that it is strictly forbidden to target non-combatants by killing or kidnapping or taking them as hostages, or inflicting any kind of harm on them.

On the other hand, there are other rules on how to deal with combatants and warring people. If a Muslim is defending himself or his homeland, he is supposed to be a noble fighter, and that includes fighting with courage and mercy at the same time, and preserving the rights of prisoners of war.

It stands without doubt that these rules of conduct have been recorded in history as noble characteristics of Muslims. In his book Arab Civilization, the French scholar Gustav Lebon said that history never witnessed merciful conquerors but Muslims.

Today, the image of Islam and Muslims has been tarnished especially with the globalization of media. Every Muslim should be responsible for every action, and he has to realize the consequences of his action on the image of Islam and the Muslims before the whole world.