Suicide bombings "un-Islamic"

A(nother) fatwa against the fanatics

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Hooray! One of the world's leading Sunni/Sufi scholars, Dr Muhammed Tahir-ul-Qadri, has issued a 600-page fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, against suicide bombings and terrorism, declaring them un-Islamic and -- wait for it! -- a form of kufr, or disbelief.

From the Sunday Times:

The document, written by Dr Muhammed Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former minister of Pakistan and friend of Benazir Bhutto, declares suicide bombings and terrorism as "totally un-Islamic". It is one of the most detailed and comprehensive documents of its kind to be published in Britain.

The fatwa, which was released in Pakistan last month, uses texts from the Quran and other Islamic writings to argue that attacks against innocent citizens are "absolutely against the teachings of Islam and that Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext".

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, who is based in Canada and has written more than 400 books on Islamic law, said: "All these acts are grave violations of human rights and constitute kufr, disbelief, under Islamic law."

Minhaj-ul-Quran is an organisation based in 80 countries that follows Sufi teachings of peace and moderation. It is gaining influence in Britain as the government seeks to gain ground among Muslim groups eager to combat the radicalisation of young people.

The group receives no government funding but its agenda is comparable to the official Prevent strategy, under which community organisations are encouraged to work together to counter extremism.

Radical Islamists will dismiss the fatwa but it will be welcomed by many Muslims from the large community of south Asian heritage in Britain, among whom confusion about religious teaching is exploited by extremists seeking to recruit suicide bombers.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.