Thursday, March 04, 2010

LONDON – A revered mainstream Muslim scholar is set to announce in London on Tuesday a fatwa (Muslim ruling) against terrorism and suicide bombing in the name of Islam.

Sheikh Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri, a widely recognized and respected authority on Islamic jurisprudence, will issue a comprehensive fatwa prohibiting terrorism and suicide bombing at a press conference in Westminster, centralLondon.

The Pakistani-born Dr. Qadri has authored an unprecedented, 600-page fatwa on why suicide bombings and terrorism are un-Islamic and scripturally forbidden. The ruling is the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date.

The fatwa will also be posted on the Internet and in English, making it readily accessible. It will also set an important precedent and allow other scholars to similarly condemn the ideas behind terrorism.

Dr. Qadri has used texts in the Koran and other Islamic writings to argue that suicide and other terrorist attacks are “absolutely against the teachings ofIslam” and that “Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext.”

The fatwa condemns suicide bombers as destined for hell, refuting the claim used by Islamists that such terrorists will earn paradise after death.

“Today’s tragedy is that terrorists, murderers, mischief-mongers and rioters try to prove their criminal, rebellious, tyrannous, brutal and blasphemous activities as a right and a justified reaction to foreign aggression under the garb of defense ofIslam and national interests,” he says about suicide bombing.

“It can in no way be permissible to keep foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation for interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances of their countries,” Qadri said, asserting, “The one who does has no relation toIslam.”

Dr. Qadri is the founder of the international Minhaj-ul-Quran movement. Supporters say his fatwa is significant because he is issuing it himself and his movement, a major grass-roots global organization, has hundreds of thousands of followers in South Asia and the UK. The move has been welcomed by the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based anti-extremism think-tank led by former Islamists.

“This fatwa has the potential to be a highly significant step towards eradicating Islamist terrorism,” a Quilliam spokesperson said. “Fatwas by Wahhabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated modern terrorism against civilians. Terrorist groups such as al-Qaida continue to justify their mass killings with self-serving readings of religious scripture. “Fatwas that demolish and expose such theological innovations will consign Islamist terrorism to the dustbin of history.”

London’s Centre for Social Cohesion think-tank has also welcomed the initiative. CSC director Douglas Murray believes that in recent years, and since the July 2005 terrorist attack in London, Muslim leaders have failed to unequivocally condemn violence committed in the name of Islam.

“A sentence that may to many people seem clear, such as ‘There can be no justification for the killing of innocent people’ is filled with caveats – what is an ‘innocent’ person? Who decides who is or is not ‘innocent’?

“Too many Muslim religious figures sound as if they are condemning violence when in fact they are merely condemning violence in certain situations, against certain people,” he said. Murray said the fatwa takes away the caveats and will have far-reaching consequences. However he said it won’t stop Islamic terrorism instantaneously.

“Dr. ul-Qadri is respected for his ability to cross some of the notable sectarian boundaries that abound in the Islamic faith as in all others. Even Muslims who might dislike him will not be able to dismiss him out of hand.

“Yet even if the contents of this fatwa are what people have long hoped for, it will not, of course, stop Islamic terrorism straight away. A single fatwa will not change the level of denial and lack of self-criticism inherent in so much of modern Islam. Nor will it stop every fevered young radical eager to kill and maim. But the trickle-down effect is important. The most violent interpretations of Islam have indeed trickled down to terrorists via learned scholars,” he said.

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