Examiner : New fatwa could undermine terrorism, suicide bombing, and extreme Islamists
March 3, 6:38 PM
Outsiders to the faith tradition can feel baffled by the cacophony of conflicting voices and opinions that issue from the mouths of different Islamic clerics. Unlike many Christian denominations familiar to the West, religious authority in Islam's many varieties tends to be much more diffuse.
This week, an Islamic scholar and former Pakistani lawmaker, Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, decried suicide bombings as unworthy of association with the Muslim faith. According to CNN, Tahir ul-Qadri stressed that while other fatwas (religious rulings based on Islamic law) contained qualifications that seemed to hedge their bets, his "didn't leave a single, minor aspect that, in the mind of radicals and extremists, can take them to the direction of martyrdom." Tahir ul-Qadri came down hard on opponents, emphasizing his belief that Islam rejects terrorist violence no matter the motivation. Also important to one commentator was that the argument was based purely on theological grounds, which could make it more persuasive to the devout.
San Diegans paid close attention when, subsequent to the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, more and more information became available about Major Nidal Hasan's correspondence with a radical cleric in Yemen named Anwar al-Awlaki. It turned out Anwar al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico, lived in San Diego, and studied education at San Diego State University.
When leaders across the Islamic world make intentionally charged, frequently belligerent statements, they tend to receive heavy news coverage. For example, Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi's declaration of jihad against Switzerland in retaliation for a ban on minarets designated as too tall has been given perhaps a little more attention than its worth. After all, attracting attention is probably the main motive for the declaration in the first place.
When Muslim religious leaders, often taken to task for not speaking out against terrorism publicly, decide to come out strongly with denunciations, they deserve broad support from people all over the world. In order for anti-terrorist Muslim leaders to undermine the currents of extremism, they need help getting their message out. Let's not let their voices be drowned out by the loudest and vilest of their counterparts, who preach hate. Everyone can do their part. Listen to the voices of reason; pass on what you hear.