Regarding Shaikh Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri’s Anti-Terrorism Fatwa, recently launched in London, I guess any steps forward in fighting terrorism should be considered a good thing. However, these initiatives can be read in many ways and I’ll give you a few points off the top of my head, replicating what many others are thinking in the Muslim community.
First, I doubt this will have the clout envisaged by one of it's apparent key promoters the Quilliam foundation (a counter-terrorism think tank) as the fatwa iteself does not have the unanimous backing of the most promoment scholars and Sheikhs, although the opinions and rulings of some prominent scholars do appear to have been involved in drawing it up. Also this is not the first fatwa to condemn suicide bombings/terrorism, and Qadri is not the first ‘important/eminent’ Sheikh to issue such a fatwa, as many more prominent scholars and Sheikhs have done so already, and these are ignored by those idiots that seek to commit suicide bombings and terorrism anyway. Furthermore, most Islamic scholars and Imams have already consistently condemned killing people in the name of Islam for a long, long time. There is simply minimal publicity about these earlier efforts and therefore the time spent promoting Shaikh Dr Tahir ul-Qadri’s Anti-Terrorism Fatwa would have been better spent promoting that Muslims have already been condemning terrorism for some time.
Second, regarding Qadri's status, the Sheikh in question appears to head a Sufi organisation and as such there will be many branches of the Muslim community that will not reconise his rulings. In fact, its likely that most of his own followers will accept his fatwa but then as his followers they are likely to not support terrorism or suicide bombings anyhow. Furthermore, another reason he is not a universally accepted figure by all individuals and branches of the Muslim community is because in the past has made segregating comments about some other Muslim communities such as Wahabbi’s and Deobandi’s. So I’d suggest that this fatwa is not really groundbreaking apart from inside his own organisation and will never be widely acknowledged apart from by his own followers.
Third, although it is important that such a Fatwa has been publicised, the importance and reach perceived by the press, Quilliam foundation, etc, does appear overated/overestimated. Why? Because those that commit such crimes have already heard existing Fatwa’s stating it to be wrong and ignore them, those that do not recognise this Sheikh would have already heard existing Fatwa’s stating it to be wrong, those that follow this Sheikh should already be clear terrorism is wrong and do not need a Fatwa to tell them this, and those non-followers that already know it to be wrong do not need another Fatwa to remind them.
I’ve read a cross-section of interesting views which collectively place this Fatwa in it’s correct context and weight it’s relevance.
"The fatwa, running to 600 pages, has been written by Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, founder and leader of a Muslim sect based in Pakistan, and highlighted in a press release from the Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism thinktank which last year received £1m funding from the British government." (Guardian)
"It (the fatwa) plays on a widely-held (and sometimes willful) misperception that Muslim leaders have not spoken out against Islamist violence. Large numbers of Muslim leaders have denounced violence, suicide bombs, 9/11, 7/7 and many other bloody attacks by Islamist radicals (check out a long partial list here)." (Reuters)
"Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge University, said while ul-Qadri’s step of declaring "miscreants as unbelievers" was unusual, it was unlikely extremists would take notice of his edict." (Al Jazeera)
"I dont think any Muslim will disagree with his fatwa .. Whoever has killed an innocent human beings regardless of religion , colour , race , nationality is a terrorist. At the same time he should have mentioned American and its allies are also terrorists (including govt of pakistan ). They have also killed millions of innocent human beings in Iraq , Afganistan … We cant say one side is terrorist and other is fighting for so called democracy." (Islamonline forum)"The scholars of K.S.A have been condemning terror and issuing fatwas since the 70’s (maybe even before then) and no one took any notice…" …"The barelvis and assorted sufi councils are flavour of the month with the UK government to spread division, hate and doubt among Muslims." (Ummah.com forum)
"What’s funny is that the Government have money to waste in what’s supposed to be a recession. They give money to the Quilliam Foundation to elicit fatwas from men who have virtually no influence on the Muslims in the UK. How ironic that these munafiq "scholars" are seen as a joke by the very Muslims they are meant to be deradicalising." (Islamic Awakening forum)
So thinking more about the 'Qadri Fatwa' and The Quilliam foundation there are some concerns that need to be raised.
The Quilliam foundation is headed by Ed Husain, a former religous extremist, and actually has minimal support from Muslims. I’ve said previously that his book, The Islamist appears to be another Wafa Sultan type attempt to profit off the back of Islamophobia and the fear of ‘Islamism’. As Craig Murray also has said, Husain has realised that, having tried to make a mark in the world through religious fanaticism, that he can make more money and career progress by instead jumping on the anti-Islamist gravy train.Qadri's organisation is also seeking similar government links.
When Husain’s not travelling the world lecturing on the threat of ‘Islamist ideology’, he benefits from the fact that the UK government has had Ed Husain up in the Quilliam foundation and has thrown more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money at it.
It’s about time the public (including Muslims) begin questioning and criticising these self-proclaming fatwa writers (Shaikh Dr Tahir ul-Qadri) and the barrage of advice they (Ed Husain) give to the police and security agencies on counter-extremism methods that only serve to further demonise and stereotype Muslims.