March 2, 2010

The leader of a worldwide Muslim movement with thousands of followers in the UK will today issue a fatwa – or Islamic religious ruling – condemning terrorism and warning suicide bombers that they are “destined for hell”.

Pakistan-born Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Koran movement, will make the formal UK proclamation of a fatwa, or religious edict, condemning terrorism and suicide bombing at a news conference in London.

The 600-page fatwa announces that “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”.

Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Minhaj-ul-Koran 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 Quilliam foundation, the counter-extremism think-tank, described the fatwa as “arguably the most comprehensive” theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date.

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.

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 Sir Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a “death fatwa” issued by Ayatollah Khomenei, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the grounds that his book, the Satanic Verses had “insulted” Islam.

Shahid Malik, the Communities Minister, whose Dewsbury constituency was home to the lead 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.”

Islamic scholar Shaikh Mohammed Hisham Kabbani, of the Centre for Spirituality and Cultural Advancement, also welcomed the fatwa.

“This scholarship is a landmark in enabling Muslims living in the UK to be able to silence the small minority of people who think it is OK to commit violent acts in the name of Islam,” he said.

“We are happy and honoured to be working with Dr Qadri and Minhaj-ul-Koran to support the UK Muslims in countering the radical Islamist rhetoric in the world.”

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