By Yamin Zakaria
Leading Islamophobes and Zionists have naturally welcomed Dr. Qadri’s one-dimensional fatwa, condemning suicide bombing and terrorism. There was hardly any reference to the context; the ongoing Anglo-US-Israeli terrorism over the last three decades that has resulted in occupation, theft of land and natural resources, and numerous massacres of innocent Muslims (Sabra and Shatila, Qana, Jenin, Lebanon, Gaza, Fallujah, Highway of Death going towards Basra, etc). Far from a fatwa, it looks like the typical spin of a nasty neo-conservative.
If the subject of the fatwa is terrorism, then he should at least define this elusive term; according to Dr. Qadri, terrorism is targeting non-combatants, whereas ‘legitimate’ war mean targeting combatants. It is strange for man claiming to have scholarly credential, to come up with such a simplistic view of war and terrorism, which bears no relation to the real world. The methods of warfare have ‘evolved’ from the days of spears and swords, and with the use of explosives over populated cities, substantial ‘collateral’ damage is guaranteed; war means the mass killing of civilians.
Even a mediocre academic recognises the pseudo distinction between, terrorism of non-state actors and wars waged by state. To be succinct –wars waged by states is mass terrorism with a big budget, whereas terrorism is war on a smaller budget. Both acts involve the killing of civilians, driven by a political motive. Therefore, one can wage war for democracy or for the implementation of Sharia laws. To label one category of violence, as terrorism has no intellectual merit, it is just for political convenience.
There is no inherent logic to suggest that terrorism can only be committed by non-state actors. The bombing of the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, the illegal invasion of Iraq and the carnage in Gaza are all clear examples of state terrorism and crimes against humanity. However, such acts of terrorism fail to register on Dr. Qadri’s ‘fatwa’ radar. Indeed, it would have been logical and fair for Dr. Qadri to condemn ‘terrorism’ in terms of magnitude – thus start with condemning state terrorism, then the terrorism of non-state actors (groups and individuals); many of which can also be classed as resistance against state terrorism, such as the reaction to the criminal invasion and the subsequent gang rape of Iraq. In terms of rape, I am not just referring to the horror chamber of Abu-Ghraib, but the destruction and looting of the entire country.
Far from addressing state terrorism, Dr. Qadri calls such crimes as foreign policy mistakes1; this is the language of a typical heartless neo-conservative. If Dr. Qadri is really bothered by acts of terrorism, then he should have issued his fatwa a lot earlier, focusing on the primary source of terrorism, which is the ongoing state terrorism inflicted on the innocent Muslims and non-Muslims around the world by the Anglo-US-Israeli terrorists. Instead, he decides to jump into his fatwa suit, when the Muslims respond to invasion, occupation and slaughter of innocent civilians. He cites classical scholars and for sure, none of the classical scholars would have issued such a meaningless, irrational and a treacherous ‘fatwa’.
Furthermore, state terrorism is not confined to direct combat, collective punishment is also used by states to kill civilians. The sanction against Iraq killed 500,000 innocent children; Israelis also continue to use similar methods against the Palestinians, as it builds various concentration camps for the Palestinians. Such methods are far more effective than suicide bombing and they are not worthy of a fatwa.
The UN has failed to reach consensus on the notion of terrorism, simply because it is a term of abuse to denigrate ones opponent. Only the naive would carry the definition of the opponent. Thus, Dr. Qadri should retract his one-sided condemnation of the lesser ‘terrorism’; reissue the fatwa condemning the primary source of terrorism.
Allegedly, Dr. Qadri also supports the right to resist occupation, in places like Palestine. After giving extensive details of what the suicide bombers cannot attack in the face of the ongoing Israeli oppression and collective punishment, he implies that resistance can only target active Israeli troops in combat. However, he condemns the use of suicide bombing. Thus, how can the unarmed Palestinians resist a conventional force? How do you target an F16 flying at high altitude dropping bombs on the civilian population, and committing the ultimate act of mass terrorism? It seems Dr. Qadri is lecturing the side with the mass civilian casualties not to engage in killing enemy civilians, as a matter of response and deterrence. This is more like a Christian priest advising the followers to turn the other cheek, rather than an Islamic scholar calling for Jihad to liberate the occupied lands from oppressors.
War is a bilateral issue, at the very least. You fight the enemy as they fight you – because not only it is stated in a verse of Quran, but also that is the essence of combat. Thus, a fatwa should have started with examining the conduct of both sides, taking into account the disparity of the two sides and most importantly, highlight who is the culprit in the conflict. Any legal system demands that you make a distinction between culprit and the victim; otherwise, a murder is the same as the one killing in self-defence. The Palestinians in Jerusalem is not the guilty party, it is the thieves coming from abroad and occupying their home are the ones that need to be expelled. This is all justified in the name of religion by the fanatical Zionists.
In addition, it is in the interest of the Muslims to halt the killing of civilians, as they are the biggest victim. However, that requires a collective effort – and only a simpleton would call on the victims for unilateral disengagement.
Of course, the fatwa has been magnified by the media, and some quarters amongst the Muslims have shown support, as well as the anti-Islamic faction, but many more have not, their voice remains silent. Ultimately, the ‘success’ of the fatwa will depend on how many adheres to it. The essence fatwa seems to have adopted the method of Ghandi, advising the resistance to lay down their arms and recourse to non-violent actions and hope for mercy from their oppressors.
Dr. Qadri may be recognised as a scholar of Islam in some quarters, and like many of the Muslim scholars and Imams, they are out of touch with the real world, and thus easily misguided on the simplest of issues. He should retract his superficial notion of terrorism and war, which no doubt will nullify his fatwa that is in the process of being fully translated.
It is reasonable to expect that any Islamic Scholar should take into account the interests of the Muslims, whilst issuing a fatwa. So, why Dr Qadri could not stand up and issue a fatwa when the civilian population were slaughtered in Gaza or the numerous occasions prior to that? He has written on human rights, and thus he could easily pass a fatwa on the numerous Muslims incarcerated in the prisons of the democratic western world. What about a fatwa on torture carried out by US intelligence? Is it too much to expect from Dr. Qadri to come out in defence of the Muslims? Anyway, so what prompted him to pronounce a ‘fatwa’ now? He says, the events in Pakistan have provoked him, yet the hundreds of thousands slaughtered prior to that were not enough to trigger him into action.
Far from being scholarly, Dr. Qadri seems like one of those simple people, suffering from the moderate-Muslim syndrome, who only see violence in the deaths of 3000 or 52, and fails to see the killing of one million plus innocent Muslim civilians. His fatwa radar is surely defective! After the killing of 1500 civilians, the Palestinians are still the terrorists and the Israelis were merely defending themselves; Dr. Qadri’s irrational and misguided ‘fatwa’ reinforces that type of skewed viewpoint that is propagated by the real terrorists and extremists of this world. Such a fatwa serves the neo-conservative agenda; most certainly, it will prove to be irrelevant for the oppressed Muslims.
Yamin Zakaria is a London-based blogger
Mr Yamin Zakaria, has forgotten that his Arab salafi financiers, who declare Bin Baz and Albani as supreme Islamic leaders, tend to hide the fatwas of Bin Baz behind the carpet, where Bin Baz declared jihad in palestine as illegal and impermissible for Muslims and ordered Muslims to leave Palestine.
I fail to understand why Wahabbis do not talk about their scholars including Bin Baz who declared Osama a khwarijii and non Muslim and target Dr Tahirul Quadri because he is a sufi. Has he been a salafi all these salafis would have hyped his fatwas.
And would Mr Yamin Zakaria explain the bombings in masjids, marketplaces, dargahs in Muslim countries. I feel he seems to prefer this a jihad. Such people are illiterates despite being literates.
Yamin Zakaria's article seems to justify terrorism as a quid pro quo for state actions that kill civilians and steal lands from weaker populations. The article reasons that Tahir ul Qadri's fatwa is faulty because it is against terrorism only and not against state-sponsored aggression.
I do not agree with the author. Nothing prevents a cleric from issuing a fatwa against aggressive actions of states, but Dr. Qadri's fatwa against terrorists can stand on its own as it condemns targeting civilians and suicide bombings, both of which are forbidden in Islam. Luring adolescent boys (and girls) to become suicide bombers with promises of all kinds of rewards is a criminal activity. Islamist terrorism has brought shame on the Muslim community, making us pariahs not welcomed in any non-Muslim country, scapegoated and discriminated against in jobs and housing and treated with suspicion in airports and at border crossings. It has brought up questions regarding the legitimacy of Islam as a religion.
Dr. Qadri's fatwa should be given maximum publicity in the press and on the air waves. If it raises questions in the minds of our youth and makes them less likely to fall prey to Islamist enticements, it would have served its purpose.