| ||The papers on Tuesday widely covered (The Times, Telegraph, Independent and Evening Standard) the fatwa issued in London by the Pakistani cleric Dr Tahir ul-Qadri (pictured) of Minhaj ul-Quran condemning suicide bombers. The BBC reported: |
‘In his religious ruling, Dr Qadri says that Islam forbids the massacre of innocent citizens and suicide bombings.
‘Although many scholars have made similar rulings in the past, Dr Qadri's followers argue that the massive document being launched in London goes much further.
‘They say it sets out point-by-point theological arguments against the rhetoric used by al-Qaeda inspired recruiters.
‘The fatwa also challenges the religious motivations of would-be suicide bombers who are inspired by promises of an afterlife.’
600 pages seems an awfully long-winded way of reiterating messages repeatedly espoused by British Muslim scholars, on a number of occasions, propounding Islam’s denunciation of terrorism and suicide bombing.
Following the horrors of 11 September 2001, the MCB gathered British Muslim scholars from a range of different schools of thought in central London to denounce the justifications given by the hijackers involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center, that their actions were consistent with Islamic teachings.The statement, available here, made clear:
‘It is a criminal act to take the life of a human being without due process of law. The killing of innocent people whether done by individuals or state institutions is condemned in Islam.
‘On this basis the meeting absolutely condemned the atrocities in America on 11 September which resulted in the loss of almost 7000 lives.’
And in a statement endorsed by UK scholars in the wake of the London bombings of July 2005, they reiterated:
‘We are firmly of the view that these killings had absolutely no sanction in Islam, nor is there any justification whatsoever in our noble religion for such evil actions. It is our understanding that those who carried out the bombings in London should in no sense be regarded as martyrs.’
Qadri accompanied his statement with some viciously sectarian remarks about others Muslims. He was quoted in the Evening Standard as saying:
"Every Salafi and Deobandi is not a terrorist but I have no hesitation in saying that everyone is a well-wisher of terrorists and this has not been appreciated by the Western governments."
Muslims are unlikely to take very seriously comments from a 'scholar' who makes such divisive, ignorant and downright offensive remarks.
Yusuf Smith of Indigo Jo Blogs marvelously dissects the sectarianism employed by ul-Qadri’s movement, tactics that are almost certainly likely to dilute the fatwa’s significance and reach.
And Brian Whitaker on Comment is Free critiques the industry of ready-made fatwas that undermine the authenticity of the process by which fatwas are sometimes devised.
It is perhaps indicative of the short-term memory banks of policymakers and the media, always on the lookout for some new body of Muslims to repeat Islam’s injunctions against indiscriminate murder, that the statements of Muslim scholars in UK that are already in the public domain should be treated as passé and the announcement by Dr ul-Qadri deemed a worthy new initiative, irrespective of the complexities of the derivation of juristic rulings in Islam.
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