Dr Tahirul Qadri, founder and patron-in-chief of Tehrik Minhajul Quran, made headlines earlier this month when he declared a fatwa denouncing suicide attacks and terrorism. Now, more ulema have convened at a conference and declared that all acts of terrorism and not only suicide bombings are un-Islamic. The agreement on this issue was unanimous.
Prominent ulema, at a seminar chaired by the interior minister in Lahore, have said that all acts of terrorism, not just suicide attacks, are un-Islamic. This is, in some ways at least, significant. The joint voice of a number of prominent scholars may help remove some of the doubts that still exist in the minds of people over the doings of the Taliban and the question of whether they can be defended. The ulema have unanimously agreed that it cannot. The ambiguity which still lurks over this issue needs to be dispelled. Assertions by some political parties and religious groups that the bombings and violence we see are simply an outcome of our government’s adherence to US-dictated policies create doubts and cloud clear thinking. Regardless of the American role in the region – and it goes without saying that it has often been a negative one – there is no way in which the horrendous acts of injustice we see in our midst can be justified or the murder of women and small children defended. As for the argument that the military operation in the north should stop, the question to be asked surely is what means are to be used to stop a frenzied band of fighters who are intent on destroying the state and all that it stands for.
The ulema present at the seminar have shown courage and a willingness to lead from the front. We hope that others will follow in their footsteps. The emphasis by some that suicide attacks were a social rather than religious issue rooted in poverty and deprivation needs to be heeded by the government. There is an undisputed truth in this. The government now should build a broader front against terror by uniting the ulema, the international community and ordinary people as a force that can take on the terrorists and, in time, defeat them.