Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Pakistan born Islamic scholar with an intriguingly wide range of opinion Tuesday issued an Islamic edict condemning terrorism and suicide bombings and challenged “al—Qaeda’s violent ideology.”
Founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran movement who has a large following in Britain made his formal proclamation of a fatwa, or religious edict, at a news conference in London.
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, who is also a lawyer, in past has successfully argued for Blasphemy law in Pakistan- a law commonly used to punish minorities and dissenters. The controversial Blasphemy Law was passed after Mr. Qadri after presented his arguments to a Pakistani court, “over a period of three days, culminating in an Act of Parliament.”
Now presented chiefly as a ‘Sufi’, Mr. Qadri was very close to a Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul Haq. In a landmark enactment of Parliament concerning ad-diya (blood-money) of a murdered woman Mr. Qadri had presented his arguments in the President House of Pakistan during a special legislative session chaired by General Zia ul Haq.
But Mr. Qadri now seems like ‘a new and improved’ scholar with 600 page fatwa describing the al-Qaeda movement as an “old evil with a new name.”
His fatwa said that “suicide bombings and attacks against civilian targets are not only condemned by Islam, but render the perpetrators totally out of the fold of Islam, in other words, to be unbelievers.”
Mr. Qadri hopes his arguments would attract the attention of politicians and security services in western nations.
The document is not the first to condemn terrorism and suicide bombings. Following the terrorist attacks in London during July 2005 many scholars came together to denounce the bombers and urged communities to root out extremists.
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri founded Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International (MQI), an organization with branches and centres in more than 90 countries around the globe which has become a leading voice of Islam for inter-faith dialogue. His followers believe that he reflects the renaissance of Islam.
It remains to be seen if Mr. Qadri’s fatwa (an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar) will have any impact.
The term fatwa became famous in the western world in 1989 after the author Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a “death fatwa” issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, on the grounds that his book, the Satanic Verses had “insulted” Islam.