WV Gazette : Hurrah: Terror breakthrough?

March 6, 2010

For the first time, a major international Muslim leader has issued an in-depth fatwa (holy edict) declaring that Islamic suicide bombers are evil, that they aren't rewarded with 72 virgin nymphs in heaven, and that they actually cease to be Muslims and go to hell.

The 600-page proclamation was released last week in London by Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, founder of the Minhaj-al-Quran movement with Sufi centers in 90 nations and hundreds of thousands of followers.

Ul-Qadri said suicide volunteers actually become "kafirs" (unbelievers). "They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim umma. No, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are leading toward hellfire."

Sufi is a mystical, pacifist branch of Islam, so the leader's stand fit his group. However, various scholars predict that the hard-hitting fatwa -- the strongest ever issued -- will spread through the Internet and through worldwide mosques, dissuading some idealistic young Muslims from being lured by extremist "martyr" appeals.

Perhaps many imams will adopt the fatwa and begin speaking more publicly against religious killing. If this occurs, it will be an international blessing, because Islamic self-destruction is the foremost cause of bloodshed in much of the world.

As we've said repeatedly, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful -- yet it's undeniable that thousands of radicalized youths willingly kill themselves to destroy groups considered to be "God's enemies." Some extreme sheiks issue fatwas justifying the murder. (Last month, Saudi cleric Abd al-Barrak declared that if anyone allows males and females to mix in schools or workplaces, "it is obligatory to kill him.")

Last week, as Iraq prepared for elections, suicide bombers struck repeatedly, even inside a hospital treating victims of previous suicide attacks. The month before, Sunni volunteers infiltrated a Shiite pilgrimage and detonated themselves, killing multitudes. To most Westerners, this self-annihilation seems insane, baffling.

We hope Dr. ul-Qadri's strong new edict spreads through the Islamic world and stirs a counter-movement weakening the strange attraction to martyrdom.

Source : http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/201003050934