Europe News : Fatwa condemning terrorism fuels Maghreb debate

By Sarah Touahri
13 March 2010

Maghreb imams and other experts on Islam are reacting with everything from doubt to cautious optimism about a fatwa against terrorism issued by a prominent Pakistan-born religious scholar.

The 600-page fatwa, which was issued in London on Tuesday (March 2nd) by Dr. Muhammad Tahir Qadri, says "hellfire" awaits suicide bombers, and categorically rejects attacks that kill innocent people.

"Look at our deplorable situation today," Qadri said in an interview that appeared March 5th in the London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat. "People are killed inside mosques and on the streets. They are killed while sleeping in their beds. Terrorists bomb marketplaces where women, children and the elderly get killed. There is no justification for this at all."

Qadri, born in 1951 in Pakistan's Punjab province, received his Ph.D. from Punjab University. A lecturer in Islamic Sciences since 1974, he has also worked with various Pakistani government bodies, including the High Court and the Ministry of Education.

Many in the Maghreb welcomed Qadri's fatwa, which includes the opinions of key ancient and modern scholars, as an important step forward.

In Mauritania, Salick Ould Yerbe, the imam of a Nouadhibou mosque, told Magharebia that the fatwa "is very important and will have a good impact, God willing, on the souls of Muslims".

He said the fatwa's content had been explained by Mauritanian scholars "who have issued repeated fatwas that terrorism and violence have no place in the true religion of Islam, and that the fate of suicide bombers is hell".

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