"Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence, and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it."
The terrorists who recently killed more than 2 dozen people in Baquba, Iraq, in a series of pre-election suicide attacks, were not on the receiving end of a message sent earlier this month by a prominent Muslim scholar.
Pakistani-born lawyer and Islamic scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the worldwide movement Minhaj-ul-Quran, issued a 600 page fatwa, or religious edict, denouncing terrorism and describing suicide bombers as destined for hell.
In a news conference in London, Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri said, "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence, and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it. ... The world needs an absolute, unconditional, unqualified and total condemnation of terrorism."
Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri said the actions of suicide bombers make them non believers, and said, "Their act is never, ever to be considered jihad."
Since the struggle against violent extremism has taken shape over the past decade, a significant number of Muslim groups and leaders have condemned the justification of violence in the name of Islam. Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri's fatwa is noteworthy for its length and unequivocal stance.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley welcomed the new fatwa's rejection of violence:
"At the heart of this, it's about a very small group of people that have tried to hijack a religion. And we certainly value the debate that is currently underway within Muslim majority communities around the world about the nature of their religion, the implication and definition of the word jihad, and to kind of take back the good name of Islam."
"These kinds of developments," said Mr. Crowley, [are] very important steps in having the Muslims themselves make their own judgment about the vision that al-Qaida and bin Laden have propagated. Anyone who comes forward and rejects that vision – - we welcome those steps."