: Cleric issues fatwa condemning terrorism

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 12:56:00

ELEANOR HALL: A leading Pakistani cleric in Britain has issued a religious ruling condemning terrorism.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri heaped scorn on the notion of religious rewards for suicide bombers.

Instead he warned suicide bombers they are destined for hell.

In London, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri's 600-page religious ruling, or fatwa, says suicide bombings and attacks on civilian targets are condemned by Islam, and render the perpetrators 'unbelievers'.

He says there are no circumstances in which suicide bombings can be justified.

MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI: No person in the whole world can provide a single evidence from Koran who would create any exceptional permissibility to committing suicide bombing.

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr Qadri runs a Sufi movement based in Lahore, but he says he wanted to spread his message to the UK and the wider Western world.

MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI: So that the whole world may know that whatever the terrorists are doing, they no link with Islam, and I wanted to give this message to the youth in Western world also, that these kind of activities will lead them to hellfire, and they're not involved in any kind of martyrdom operation. Rather they are doing an act which is an act of disbelief.

RACHAEL BROWN: Dr Qadri hopes his message will come in time for those on the fringes of extremism, who, he says, have been brainwashed. He says Western youth, whether they be of Pakistani, Indian or Arabic Islamic backgrounds, are being victimised and misguided on the concepts of Islam.

MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI: You go on Internet and you will find the extremist and the terrorist people are running uncountable websites giving the wrong concepts of Jihad, wrong concepts of suicide bombing, giving that fatwa's in favour of suicide bombing, creating some exemptions for them and this is how they are being brainwashed.

In America, you know, the basic thing in 9/11 took place and in England 7/7 and the England and UK is the country most concerned.

RACHAEL BROWN: But Azzam Tamimi from the Institute of Islamic Political Thought thinks this fatwa will fall on deaf ears. Mr Tamimi thinks suicide bombings are permissible under the Koran as a form of self defence.

He says he sees no difference between a suicide bomber, and an F16 pilot who drops bombs on innocent people. But Tamimi says there real issue here is of utility.

AZZAM TAMIMI: Whether this is actually good for the cause or bad for the cause and in most cases it's not good for the cause. And I think this is the argument we need to push forward rather than resorting to fatwas because for every fatwa, there is a counter fatwa.

RACHAEL BROWN: And he says many young people aren't interested in fatwas, and are confused about how to attract attention to their cause.

AZZAM TAMIMI: British young Muslims I would advise them against resorting to any of these tactics because they are counterproductive. But I cannot apply the same thing for people who are defending their country and defending their homes and for people whose families have been wiped out completely by coward pilots flying F16's and Apache helicopters.

RACHAEL BROWN: But the counter extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, says Dr Qadri's fatwa is the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date.

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