Frederick News Post : Fatwa on terrorism

March 09, 2010

What the world needs is more religious leaders such as Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri, the Pakistani-born, U.K-based Muslim theologian who isn't afraid to call a spade a spade. In this case, the spade is terrorism perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam.

Last week Qadri issued a fatwa -- a ruling on a point of Islamic law issued by an established authority. The British newspaper The Independent termed Qadri's fatwa "a remarkable assault on the ideology of violent Islamist extremists." And he did not reserve his remarks for the extremists and terrorists alone; he also called on all Islamic leaders in the U.K. to do more to condemn terrorism -- no exceptions allowed.

And as far as the suicide bombers who have wreaked death and destruction on their own Muslim brother and sisters, Qadri termed them "unbelievers" who have purchased a ticket straight to hell for their murderous actions.

Qadri is not just another Islamic scholar. He is a "sheikh ul-Islam," which The Independent describes as "one of the highest positions in Islamic jurisprudence." He also has written hundreds of books on Islamic law.

Qadri didn't mince words during his recent remarks on terrorism to fellow Muslims:

"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 of ifs and buts. The world needs an absolute, unconditional, unqualified and total condemnation of terrorism."

According to the cleric, suicide bombers who claim they are headed for heaven as holy martyrs will be doing a 180 and heading south instead.

Nor is Qadri the only Islamic scholar who has condemned terrorism since the 9/11 attacks. There have been many such denunciations by other Islamic leaders. However, Qadri went a step farther. Most of the previous condemnations have termed terrorism "haram" -- forbidden. Qadri labeled it "kufr" -- disbelief. Because of their degree of seriousness, those who commit kufr acts are, in practical terms, forfeiting their right to call themselves Muslims.

This is a courageous action by Qadri; some others who have made similar proclamations in the past have been targeted and killed by the very Islamic extremists they criticized. Last year, a personal friend of Qadri's was assassinated shortly after issuing a similar fatwa against terrorism while appearing on national television.

Will this respected Islamic scholar's denunciation be heeded by terrorists? No, but it does strongly reaffirm the basic truth that terrorism is an unholy act, counter to the principles of Islam, and cannot be honestly perpetrated in the name of religion.

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