Ulema Issue Edict (Fatwa) Against Taliban
For the ulema to say that suicide bombings are un-Islamic is nothing new. Last October, a Muttahida Ulema Council meeting in Lahore denounced suicide bombing in unequivocal terms and called it haram (forbidden, sin). However, the tone and tenor of the conference of ulema and mashaikh in Islamabad on Sunday went beyond the merely technical denunciation of suicide bombings and beheadings and appeared to represent the anti-Taliban wave now sweeping across the nation.
Attended by ulema belonging mostly to the Sunni fiqh, (except Deobandis) the conference condemned the ‘assassination of ulema’, denounced the destruction of ‘sacred places’ and demanded that shrines should be cleared of extremists. The resolution passed by the conference denounced US drone attacks but at the same time upheld the army action against the militants, whom it termed the country’s enemy. According to the resolution, the army action was for ‘Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty’.
The conference’s most outspoken critic of the militants was, perhaps, Mufti Muneebur Rahman who pointed out that the Taliban were slaughtering even children and said those who wanted the Shari’a must uphold Islamic values themselves. The outcome of the conference is positive, for the Taliban should note that they cannot fool the people any more in the name of the Shari’a and that their barbarism and bloodletting in the name of religion have forced large sections of society to unite against them. Mufti Muneeb blamed ‘the agencies’ for patronizing the militants for three decades, and demanded that this time the war on the militants should be taken to its logical conclusion.
We hope the government will build on the consensus that now seems to be developing in the country and act with resolve to crush the insurgency. The Taliban are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers; they have used civilians as a shield, and they have brought misery to more than a million people by making them flee their homes. The Taliban’s violation of the Nizam-e-Adl accord makes it clear that they cannot be trusted and that the government should step up the military offensive to give peace and security to the people of Malakand.
[Dawn Editorial, Tuesday, 19 May, 2009]
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