Popular Muslim Reaction - British House of Commons Report
"The people and the government of Pakistan deeply mourn the enormous and unprecedented loss of innocent lives in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. We share the grief of the American people in this grave national tragedy. We strongly condemn this most brutal and horrible act of terror and violence."
Pakistan's President Musharraf issued the above statement and promised that he would co-operate in certain ways with the USA by opening Pakistani airspace to US military aircraft, sharing intelligence, allowing access to military facilities and allowing special forces and logistical teams to be based in Pakistan.
Immediately, after the incidents of 11 September, religious figures within Pakistan condemned such acts and expressed regret over the loss of life. The most vocal of these was the Chairman of Pakistani Awami Tehreek, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri who is also a recognised religious authority within the Muslim world. Dr Qadri issued a number of statements and fully supported the Musharraf regime in joining the coalition against terrorism.
Dr Qadri claimed that any terrorist act is against the basic precepts of Islam, and that it does not allow aggression, oppression and barbarism in any event. He set out the reasons for such acts (1) because of the unsettled disputes within the Muslim world, (2) and that there is a faction in the Islamic world whose interpretations of Islam are extremist in nature. Their handling of political, social and cultural matters reflect the extremist trend in their thinking. He stated that this "extremist class" believes that Islam is inconsistent with democracy and any association with democracy is forbidden.
Criticising the extremist elements he stated that such groups present a horrifying picture of Islam in the Western world and provoke the religious sentiments of the people for their personal gains. Dr Qadri encouraged the Taliban to hand Osama bin Laden over to a third party, he suggested that such a role can be played by NATO, the European Union, or the Organisation Islamic Conference (OIC). Dr Qadri rejected the claim of bin Laden that this war is against Islam by stating that "this war is not a war between Islam and the non-believers... this is just war against terrorism.
However, there were other religious leaders within Pakistan who did not share such views and opposed the Musharraf regime in providing assistance to the USA. In January 2001 The Times reported that over 300 Muslim clerics had gathered in Dar Ul Uloom Haqania, and declared that bin Laden was a great Muslim warrior and it was a duty upon all Muslims to provide him protection and support.
- BBC Monitoring, Asia Pacific, 13 September 2001.
- The Pakistan Awamee Thereek was established in 1988, Professor Dr M Tahir-ul-Qadri, a well known religious and political figure who is also the chairman of a moderate Islamic movement: Tehreek Minhaj-ul-Quran.
- Dr M Tahir-ul-Qadri, "Extremism: Causes and Cures" The Nation, December 14, 2001.
- Lecture delivered by Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Terrorism & International Peace, September 2001, Pakistan.
Memorandum submitted by Zahid Nawaz
The complete memorandum is originally available at