This is London : Suicide bombers 'enemies of Islam'
Suicide bombers have been described as the "heroes of hellfire" by a leading Muslim scholar in a fatwa condemning terrorists as the enemies of Islam.
Pakistan-born Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said there were no "ifs or buts" about terrorism and such acts had no justification in the name of Islam.
In a news conference attended by MPs, representatives from the Metropolitan Police, charitable organisations, think-tanks and other groups, he called on Islamic leaders to convey the message that acts of terrorism cut people off as true followers of Islam.
"They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma (the wider Muslim community), no, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are leading towards hellfire," he said.
"There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered Jihad," he added.
Dr Qadri, who spoke at length in both English and Arabic before his audience, said his fatwa - a religious edict or ruling - was an "absolute" condemnation of terrorism without "any excuses or pretexts".
"Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot convert an evil into good," he said. "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts."
He insisted that Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty, "betterment", goodness and "negates all form of mischief and strife".
The 600-page fatwa by Dr Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran movement, which has thousands of supporters across the world as well as in the UK, will be translated into English in the coming weeks. His talk will also be made available online in an attempt to counter extremist versions of Islam available on the internet.
A fatwa, an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar, may concern any aspect of Islamic life. The term became famous in the Western world in 1989 after the author Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a "death fatwa" issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the grounds that his book, The Satanic Verses, had "insulted" Islam.