Telegraph : Muslim cleric issues fatwa against Islamist terrorists

7:30AM GMT 03 Mar 2010

The leader of a global Muslim movement has issued a fatwa condemning terrorism and warned suicide bombers they are "destined for hell".

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the Minhaj-ul-Quran movement, formally issued the Islamic religious ruling at a news conference in London in what has been described as "arguably the most comprehensive" theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date.

The 600-page fatwa rejected the concept that suicide bombers are martyrs in the hope that extremist groups would not be able to use the idea to recruit members. It said that those who carry out attacks against civilians are condemned by Islam and that their actions prove them to be "unbelievers".

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'.

He added:"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."

A spokesman for the Quilliam foundation, a counter extremism think tank, said undermining theological constructs for terrorism is key to combating it.

He 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."

Communities Minister Shahid Malik, whose Dewsbury constituency was home to 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."

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, which may be 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 Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a "death fatwa" issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the grounds that his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses had "insulted" Islam.

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