Fatwa Cleric Dies
Iranian Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Fazel Lankarani, one of that country's most senior clerics, has died. CNN has a brief obituary from Reuters.
Lankarani was the most senior of the three Iranian clerics who called for the murder of Azeri writer Rafiq Tagi and his editor, Samir Sadaqatoglu. Here is Lankarani's actual fatwa on Tagi:
Such a person is an apostate in view of his confessions, if he is a Muslim. If he had been an unbeliever (Kafir), he is considered as someone who has insulted the Prophet and in any case, given his confessions, it is necessary for every individual who has an access to him to kill him. The person in charge of the said newspaper, who published such thoughts and beliefs consciously and knowingly, should be dealt with in the same manner. We pray to Almighty Allah to grant Muslims and Islam protection from the evils of their enemies.
This was not the first time Lamkarani advocated the death of "someone who has insulted the Prophet". In 1998, he reaffirmed the validity of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Ironically, Lankarani's death came the day after Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. I'll leave it to the reader to determine if this is symbolic in any way.