The Straits Times : Scholar to issue anti-terror fatwa

Mar 02, 2010

LONDON - A PROMINENT Islamic scholar is to issue a 600-page religious edict denouncing terrorism in London on Tuesday in what he says is a bid to persuade young Muslims to turn their backs on extremism.

The fatwa from Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, a leading figure who has promoted peace and interfaith dialogue for 30 years, echoes edicts condemning extremism issued by a number of Islamic groups since the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.

But Dr. Qadri says his fatwa, which declares terrorists and suicide bombers to be unbelievers, goes further than any previous denunciation.

'This is the first, most comprehensive fatwa on the subject of terrorism ever written,' said Dr. Qadri, who has written about 350 books on Islamic scholarship and is a scholar of Sufism, a long tradition within Islam that focuses on peace, tolerance and moderation. 'I have tried to leave not a single stone unturned on this particular subject and I have tried to address every single question relevant to this subject,' he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Dr. Qadri, 59, who was born in Pakistan, is head of the global Minhaj ul-Quran religious and educational organisation which spreads his Sufi ideas. A former Pakistani minister and associate of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, he delivers lectures worldwide promoting his message of harmony and was one of the first Muslim leaders to condemn the Sept 11 attacks.

Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge University, said while there had been similar fatwas in the past, Dr. Qadri did appear to have gone further than most. 'To declare the miscreants as unbelievers is unusual, because it is not really clear that the rules allow one simply to say that they are not Muslims,' he told Reuters. 'Those who are already hardliners will pay no attention at all. But 'swing voters' - poorly educated and angry Muslims, who respect mainstream scholars, will probably take note.' -- REUTERS

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