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Times Online : Suicide bombers 'unIslamic' and going to Hell, says leading cleric

March 2, 2010

A prominent Muslim organisation in Britain has issued a fatwa on suicide bombings and terrorism — declaring them “un-Islamic”.

Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Sufi organisation based in East London which advises the Government on how to combat radicalisation in Muslim youth, launched its 600-page religious verdict in Central London this morning, condemning the perpetrators of terrorist explosions and suicide bombings.

The fatwa condemns suicide bombers saying that they are destined for Hell, countering extremist propaganda that Islamist terrorists will enter paradise after death.

The document is written by Muslim scholar Dr Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri, a former government adviser in Pakistan and friend of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the founder of the increasingly influential Minhaj-ul-Quran movement.

In it, suicide bombings and terrorism are prohibited as “totally un-Islamic”.

The fatwa, first launched in Pakistan in December, uses texts from the Koran and other Islamic writings to argue that attacks against innocent citizens are “absolutely against the teachings of Islam and that Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext”.

Although the fatwa might carry little weight among some in Britain's majority Sunni Muslim community, it will have an overall impact because of Minhaj-ul-Quran’s growing influence as a community representative body with hundreds of thousands of followers in South Asia as well as the UK.

It is a strong counter to Islamic schools of thought that condemn unbelievers and call for their subjugation, and will contribute to a climate where all Muslims can speak out freely against atrocities committed in the name of their religion.

Dr Tahir ul-Qadri, who is based in Canada and has written more than 400 books on Islamic law, is recognised in Pakistan as an authority on Islamic jurisprudence.

A spokesman for the counter-extremist think tank Quilliam said: “This fatwa has the potential to be a highly significant step towards eradicating Islamist terrorism.

“Fatwas by Wahhabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated modern terrorism against civilians.

“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.”

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.”

Minhaj-ul-Quran is an organisation based in 80 countries that follows Sufi teachings of peace and moderation, gaining ground among Muslim groups eager to combat the radicalisation of young people. The group receives no government funding.

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 Muslim scholar, may concern any aspect of Islamic life. It became associated with extremism after 1989 when the author Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a fatwa calling for his death was issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then the Supreme Leader of Iran, on the grounds that his book, The Satanic Verses had “insulted” Islam.

The Communities Minister Shahid Malik, whose Dewsbury constituency was home to the 7/7 bomber Mohammad Siddique Khan, welcomed the new 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.”

An 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-Quran to support the UK Muslims in countering the radical Islamist rhetoric in the world.”

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