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Yes, There Are Moderate Muslims and Here Is One

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Posted on March 3 2010 7:38 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten angry e-mails from people condemning all one billion members of the faith of Islam, saying the religion is so evil that all of its followers must be hostile to democracy and closet jihadists fighting for worldwide theocracy. Any moderate Muslim whom I respect or even have a friendship with is practicing al-taqiyya and I’m a dupe, just another pawn in their sick game of conquest.

Luckily, those on my side can point to groups like the Free Muslims Coalition, Quilliam Foundation, the American-Islamic Congress and the American-Islamic Congress. And now, we can point to Sheikh Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri in the United Kingdom, who has published a 600 page fatwa against terrorism based on the Islamic holy texts. The Jerusalem Post describes it as the “most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism.”

“Today’s tragedy is that terrorists, murderers, mischief-mongers and rioters try to prove their criminal, rebellious, tyrannous, brutal and blasphemous activities as a right and a justified reaction to foreign aggression under the garb of defense of Islam and national interests,” ul-Qadri said.

What’s most important to note here is that he says such actions are not permissable even when facing “foreign aggression.” Often, fake moderates would condemn Al-Qaeda but praise those fighting non-Muslim soldiers in Muslim lands and groups like Hamas. Ul-Qadri should be applauded for saying there is no exception, and he says suicide bombers are going to go to hell.

Frankly, I would have thought that the ongoing pro-democracy uprising in Iran would debunk the notion that devout Muslims cannot be seen as allies. And these moderate Muslim forces are making significant progress against the forces of extremism. Click here for an article I wrote last summer summarizing some of these decisive victories.

Update: NRB readers have made me aware that I may have jumped the gun in calling ul-Qadri a moderate. On the website of his organization, they boast of his role in creating Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law (which I somehow missed), and this article raises further issues that ul-Qadri must address. I have sent an email in to his organization asking for a response.

Nevertheless, I still think his fatwa is extremely important and deserves a lot of attention. Ul-Qadri has said that he specifically wanted to make a document without any equivocation as previous declarations have, leaving no exception for “foreign aggression” or any other justification. Under no circumstances, are acts of terrorism, rioting, etc. to be permitted. This is unprecedented as far as I know.

In my original post, I was going to write about how this should be followed up by fatwas in support of women’s rights, separation of mosque and state, and against oppression and theocracy to help modernize the Islamic world. Given what we now know about ul-Qadri’s past, I definitely should have included that. I had a conversation with a fellow writer last night about this and about how such change can be speedy but will come in stages. We may not like everything ul-Qadri says, but this is something we can support as we try to empower more liberal elements in the Islamic world’s leadership.

His fatwa is 600 pages long, and it’ll be interesting to see if it tries to only discredit acts of violence, or if it includes the other aspects of oppression that define Sharia Law and radical Islamic ideology.

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