Legalift : Muslim leader’s edict decries terrorism

3 March, 2010

The leader of a global Muslim movement issued on 2 March a religious edict (fatwa) condemning terrorism and denouncing suicide bombers as “heroes of hellfire” in an effort to help prevent the radicalization of young British Muslims.

Pakistan-born Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri said his 600-page fatwa, or religious ruling, was an “absolute” condemnation of terrorism without “any excuses or pretexts”.

“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,” Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri said at a news conference in London. “Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good; they cannot convert an evil into good.”

It was not clear how much influence the fatwa will have in the broad Muslim world or even outside the South Asian community whose members are Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s most dedicated followers.

Timothy R. Furnish, a historian of Islam, said the fatwa may not carry significant weight for many Muslims because Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri is a Sufi Muslim, and not a Koranic literalist, as are such Sunni groups as the Wahhabis and the Salafis, who form the core of groups such as al Qaeda.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley welcomed the fatwa, saying it is important that “Muslims themselves make their own judgment about the vision that al Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden have propagated.”

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