British imams must do more to condemn terrorism without any "ifs or buts" and should pronounce suicide bombers as "unbelievers" who are destined for hell, a leading Islamic scholar declared yesterday.
The comments were made during a remarkable assault on the ideology of violent Islamist extremists by Pakistani-born Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri, a prominent theologian who launched a seminal fatwa in London yesterday condemning terrorism in all its forms.
The 59-year-old scholar, who has written more than 400 books on Islamic jurisprudence, told fellow Muslims: "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses of ifs and buts. The world needs an absolute, unconditional, unqualified and total condemnation of terrorism".
Although Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri's fatwa against terrorism and suicide bombing is not yet online, from what I can see so far it does look comprehensive. The table of contents and preface are online.
Many of the previous such fatwas I've seen took pains to make sure that Palestinian Arab terrorism would fall into its own category and would not only be permitted but obligatory. So far, I have not seen any indication that Qadri's fatwa has the same shortcomings.
The reaction from more radical sheikhs will be interesting, as this is being presented as being solidly based on Islamic sources, and their answers would have to do the same.