Scholar issues anti-terrorism fatwa
A PROMINENT Islamic scholar will use a speech in London to issue a 600-page religious edict denouncing terrorists and suicide bombers as unbelievers.
Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri is a leading figure who has promoted peace and interfaith dialogue for 30 years, Sky News reports.
He said he felt compelled to issue the fatwa because of concerns about the radicalisation of British Muslims at university campuses and because there had been a lack of condemnation of extremism by Muslim clerics and scholars.
Ul Qadri says his fatwa, which is aimed at persuading young Muslims to turn their backs on extremism, goes further than any previous denunciation.
"This is the first, most comprehensive fatwa on the subject of terrorism ever written," said ul Qadri, who has written about 350 books on Islamic scholarship.
He is a scholar of Sufism, a long tradition within Islam which is widely seen as focusing on peace, tolerance and moderation.
Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to bomb a US-bound plane on Christmas Day, studied at a London university until 2008.
Government officials in Yemen, where Mutallab began his journey, said he was radicalised while in Britain.
However, the British Government claims his introduction to hardcore extremists happened after he left the UK.
Government officials will be among those joining ul Qadri for the launch of the fatwa in central London.
The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organisation representing some 500 Islamic groups, welcomed the new position.
Ul Qadri will tell his audience, "The reality is that whatever these terrorists are doing it is not martyrdom. All these activities are taking them to hellfire."
The 59-year-old was born in Pakistan and is head of the global Minhaj ul Quran religious and educational organisation, which spreads his Sufi ideas.
A former Pakistani minister and associate of assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto, he delivers lectures worldwide promoting his message of harmony and was one of the first Muslim leaders to condemn the 9/11 attacks in the US.