Israpundit : UK Muslim leader to put fatwa on Jihad

March 2, 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, central London.

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 of Islam” 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 of Islam 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 to Islam.”

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.

‘ Radical Islam must be fought ideologically’

Ex-terrorist tells ‘Post’ that “you have to counterbalance brainwashing tactics that are used.’

Radical Islam, the kind in evidence in the Mumbai attacks last month, will not be defeated unless it is confronted at the ideological level, an expert and former member of the terrorist organization Jamaa Islamiya told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “I believe that we should learn from the Mumbai attacks a lesson that we should have no mercy when it comes to terrorism and the ideology behind it,” said Tawfik Hamid, an expert on Islamism and counter-terrorism, before speaking at a global terrorism and counterinsurgency conference in Tel Aviv. “These people are just the product of an ideology. As the civilized world, we should not wait for catastrophes to happen,” he said. In addition to a small number of actual terrorists, there is also a large number of people who sympathize or condone terrorism, evidenced by the lack of demonstrations or even religious fatwas in the Islamic world against terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, Hamid said during Monday’s conference, which was organized by the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center. The Egyptian-born Hamid was once a disciple of Aiman Al-Zawahiri - currently al-Qaida’s No. 2 - and is the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam.

He argues that a “complete strategic plan” or holistic approach that deals with radical Islam from an ideological, educational, psychological, military, intelligence and counter-intelligence level is needed to make a change in the culture. Radical Islamist groups such as the Jamaa Islamiya use psychological “brainwashing” tactics such as suppressing critical thinking, frightening their followers with visions of hellfire and creating impressions of a preferable second life, he said. In addition, such groups also exploit “sex deprivation” in young men - who are forbidden to have sex before marriage and are often forced to postpone marriage due to economic reasons - to encourage them to die for Allah and meet their virgins in paradise. “We need to talk about ideology, reformation, education, how the Koran can be interpreted in a different way, how education can play a role in educating young children,” he told participants. “You have to teach love. You have to counterbalance the brainwashing tactics that are used.”

In addition, psychological tactics can be used, such as spreading rumors that mock or distort the image of jihadists, such as bin Laden, or helping to create positive associations of the United States and Israel by linking these countries to certain concepts like good values, he said.

Historian Bernard Lewis of Princeton University told the conference that while it was not quite correct to say that Islam is a religion of peace, it was equally misleading to say that Islam is a religion of war. Unlike Christianity, he said, “it recognizes war as a fact of life and it regulates it.” Suicide is a major sin in Islam that is met with heavenly retribution, and noncombatants should not be attacked - principles that are disregarded by terrorists, Lewis said. “The terrorist organizations would certainly like to see this and persuade others to accept it as a war of religion, a war between true believers and disbelievers, a continuation of war going on for more than a millennium,” he said. “We should make every effort to reject, not strengthen this interpretation, and make contact with a growing body of Muslims that don’t share that view.”

He added that the three major religions believe they are in a final phase of a great cosmic struggle between forces of good and evil - one that could eventually lead to mutual destruction and cause them to meet their fate in paradise or hell. And unlike the Cold War, where nuclear destruction was a deterrent for both sides, these rules don’t apply to Islamist radicals. “If they believe that, then mutual destruction is not a deterrent but an an inducement, and that is what makes the current situation extremely dangerous,” he said.

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