Minhaj-ul-Quran

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This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Screengrab of Dr Tahir ul-Qadri speaking at the anti-terror conference at the University of Warwick on 07-08 August 2010. Image retrieved from skynews.com on 08.08.10

Minhaj-ul-Quran is an international Islamic non-governmental organisation, (claiming to be non-political)[1] based in Lahore, Pakistan. It has a presence in over 80 countries worldwide and was founded in 1980/1981 by Dr Tahir ul-Qadri, a Sufi scholar, former Pakistani Minister and friend of deceased Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Dr Qadri now resides in Canada.[2][3]

Minhaj-ul-Quran emerged in the mainstream UK media in January 2010, when it issued a 600 page fatwa condemning suicide bombings[4] and organised a weekend 'anti-terror camp' at Warwick University on 07-08 August 2010 for the purpose of de-radicalising Muslims'.[5] The event was called 'The Guidance'.

According to the BBC: Minhaj-ul-Quran "is attracting the attention of policymakers and security chiefs who are continuing to look for allies in the fight against extremists".[6]

Fatwa on Suicide Bombing

In March 2010, Minhaj-ul-Quran issued a 600 page Fatwa which declared that suicide bombings and terrorism were "totally un-Islamic".[7] The fatwa argues that attacks against all innocent citizens are "absolutely against the teachings of Islam and that Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext ... all these acts are grave violations of human rights and constitute kufr, disbelief, under Islamic law."[8]

The Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism think-tank that received approximately £1 million funding from the British government argued that the fatwa was
"a highly significant step towards eradicating Islamist terrorism ... [and rebutting] ... fatwas by Wahhabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated [sic] modern terrorism against civilians."[9]

According to neoconservative blog, The Spittoon, the fatwa criticised

"Islamists who seek to reject democracy, liberty and human rights due to a warped interpretation of Islam, and advocate[s] that Muslims [should] engage and recognise that Islam [is] a faith which welcom[s] democracy, human rights, liberty and modern states. [The fatwa] refuted the idea of the need for a single caliphate [and suggested that] all states where there was justice were Islamic. All states could claim to be caliphates if there was democracy and justice."[10]

The Spittoon also stated that Dr Tahir ul-Qadri in the Q&A session

"explicitly condemned all sorts of terrorism without reserve, and explained that even if people have just causes, or perceive that they have just causes, they cannot engage in terrorism. He condemned suicide bombing and terrorism in Israel and Palestine, and anywhere else in the world."[11]

Criticism of the fatwa

Critics suggest that the fatwa issued by Dr Tahir ul-Qadri adds nothing new to the extensive rulings already issued by other Muslim scholars against terrorism and suicide bombings.[12][13]

Brian Whitaker of the Guardian criticised the fatwa for being discredited because "Tahir ul-Qadri was a close friend of the late Benazir Bhutto - which immediately puts him beyond the pale as far as Pakistani jihadists are concerned".[14] In response to the Quilliam Foundation's argument that Dr Tahir ul-Qadri had mass grassroots support and credibility, Whitaker argued that "he may well have 'hundreds of thousands' of followers but among an estimated total of more than a billion Muslims around the world that doesn't make his organisation particularly large or influential. In Britain, it controls only a handful of mosques out of an estimated 1,600 or so."[15] In relation to the fatwa, Whitaker criticised the concept by arguing that if one looks "hard enough you can find a fatwa for almost any purpose ... in some countries, if you can't find one that suits you, you can pay a scholar to issue one. Governments in Muslim countries do it all the time."[16]

Anti-Terror Event

On 07-08 August 2010, Minhaj-ul-Quran organised an anti-terrorism event (called 'The Guidance'). The event aimed to inform British Muslims of the Islamic rulings regarding the use of terrorism, suicide terrorism and violence. The event promoted the fatwa issued by Dr Tahir ul-Qadri in January 2010, which condemned the use of terrorism and suicide bombing.[17]

Before the start of the event, Dr Tahir ul-Qadri told the BBC:
"I feel it is my duty to save the younger generation from radicalisation and wave [sic] of terroristic recruitment in the West ... I have announced an intellectual and spiritual war against extremism and terrorism. I believe this is the time for moderate Islamic scholars who believe in peace to stand up."[18]
Even though the organisation does not receive UK government funding, the Times argued that "its agenda is comparable to the official Prevent strategy, under which community organisations are encouraged to work together to counter extremism.[19]

Sectarian Comments

In an interview with Allegra Mostyn-Owen for the London Evening Standard, Dr Tahir ul-Qadri revealed his sectarian tendencies when he stated that "no terrorists have emerged from a Sunni or Sufi background: instead, they have come from the Salafis (Wahhabis) or Deobandi [backgrounds] ... every Salafi and Deobandi is not a terrorist but I have no hesitation in saying that everyone is a well-wisher of terrorists and this has not been appreciated by the Western governments.”[20]

Resources

Notes

  1. Screen-Print of Minhaj-ul-Quran 'About Us' website, captured on 08.08.2010
  2. Ruth Gledhill, Muslim Group Minhaj-ul-Quran Issues Fatwa Against Terrorists, The Times, 17 January 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  3. Luke Baker,"Muslim Camp" draws teens to Combat Extremism, Reuters, 10 August 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  4. Introduction to the Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism, Minhaj-ul-Quran International, February 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  5. Al-Hidayah 2010, Minhaj-Ul-Quran UK, August 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  6. Dominic Casciani Islamic scholar Tahir ul-Qadri issues terrorism fatwa, BBC News, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  7. Ruth Gledhill, Muslim Group Minhaj-ul-Quran Issues Fatwa Against Terrorists, The Times, 17 January 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  8. Ruth Gledhill, Muslim Group Minhaj-ul-Quran Issues Fatwa Against Terrorists, The Times, 17 January 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  9. Press-Release: Anti-Terrorism Fatwa Launch in London, Quilliam Foundation, 01 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  10. Tahir ul-Qadri and his Fatwa on Terrorism and Islamist extremism, The Spittoon, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  11. Tahir ul-Qadri and his Fatwa on Terrorism and Islamist extremism, The Spittoon, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  12. Tahir uk-Qadri's Sectarianism on show again, IEngage, 04 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  13. Qadri’s fatwa breaks no new ground, Indigo Jo Blogs, 27 February 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  14. Brian Whitaker Fatwa wars aren't the solution, The Guardian, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  15. Brian Whitaker Fatwa wars aren't the solution, The Guardian, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  16. Brian Whitaker Fatwa wars aren't the solution, The Guardian, 02 March 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  17. Dominic Casciani Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs 'anti-terrorism' camp. BBC News, 07 August 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  18. Dominic Casciani Muslim Group Minhaj ul-Quran Runs 'Anti-Terrorism' Camp, BBC News, 07 August 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  19. Ruth Gledhill, Muslim Group Minhaj-ul-Quran Issues Fatwa Against Terrorists, The Times, 17 January 2010, accessed 08.08.10
  20. Allegra Mostyn-OwenIs this a triumph for the Islamic peacemakers?, London Evening Standard, 26 February 2010, accessed 08.08.10