Buzz Box : Fatwa issued against suicide bombing
11:24AM GMT 02 Mar 2010
The leader of a worldwide Muslim movement has issued a fatwa in Britain condemning terrorism and warning suicide bombers that they are "destined for hell".
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a leading cleric in Pakistan, has written a 600-page religious ruling that says “suicide bombings and attacks against civilian targets are not only condemned by Islam, but render the perpetrators totally out of the fold of Islam, in other words, to be unbelievers”.
Dr Qadri runs the Minhaj-ul-Quran movement based in Lahore but also has many British followers.
He follows the moderate sufi form of Islam and has campaigned for greater religious tolerance.
But his ruling is unprecedented in this country in its widespread condemnation of terrorism and, it is thought, could have an affect on those on the fringes of extremism.
Dr Qadri told a press conference there were no "ifs or buts" about terrorism and 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 ummah [nation], 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 [holy war]," he said.
He said Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty, "betterment", goodness and "negates all form of mischief and strife".
"Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot convert an evil into good," he added.
"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."
Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Minhaj-ul-Quran UK, said: "He has hit hard on the terrorists as it prevents Islamists from considering suicide bombers as 'martyrs'. This fatwa injects doubt into the minds of potential suicide bombers.
"Extremist groups based in Britain recruit youth by brainwashing them that they will 'with certainty' be rewarded in the next life and Dr Qadri's fatwa has removed this key intellectual factor from their minds."
The fatwa has been billed as "arguably the most comprehensive" theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date by counter extremism think tank the Quilliam foundation.
A Quilliam spokesman said: "Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda 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."
The Minhaj-ul-Quaran movement runs courses in combating religious extremism in educational centres throughout Britain including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nelson, Walsall, Glasgow and Dundee.
Communities Minister Shahid Malik, whose Dewsbury constituency was home to 7/7 bomber Mohammad Siddique Khan, welcomed the fatwa.
"It is incumbent on Muslims to stand up for their faith - when 7/7 occurred those four evil young men killed themselves and over 50 innocent people because they followed a twisted and perverted interpretation of Islam which told them by doing so they would go to heaven," he said.
"A clear and unequivocal message must go out that Islam teaches that these four are not martyrs going to heaven but sinners going somewhere very different indeed.
"Hence, I very much welcome the work of Dr Qadri in helping reinforce this most crucial of message to Muslims and non-Muslims alike."