Edict against suicide attacks in Pakistan; Kashmir exempted
18 May 2005
Islamabad: A group of 58 religious scholars belonging to schools of Islamic thought in Pakistan have issued an edict (fatwa) against suicide attacks in the country. However, they exempted people 'waging freedom movements against alien occupation' including those in Kashmir. The Government-backed move has come in the wake of a series of suicide attacks in different parts of the country in the last two years. Most of the attacks were suspected to be the handiwork of sectarian fundamentalists. It took weeks of persuasion by the Government for the scholars of various schools to agree on the text of the edict. Some of the scholars were opposed to such an order on the plea that it would adversely impact on 'struggles' in Iraq, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Palestine. So it was agreed that the fatwa would be applicable only to Pakistan. The edict was issued by the Ruet Hilal Committee (Moon sighting committee) Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rahman at a press conference in Lahore. Mufti Mohammad Khan Qadri, member of Parliament from the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Maulana Abdul Malik and other prominent clerics were present on the occasion. The edict said Islam forbids suicide attacks on Muslims and those committing such acts at places of worship and public congregations cease to be Muslims. Mufti Muneebur Rahman said the fatwa would not apply to people waging freedom movements against 'alien occupation' such as those in Palestine and Kashmir. The decree said killing innocent people was haram (forbidden) in Islam and carried the death penalty, Qisas and compensation. Killing a fellow Muslim without Islamic and legal reasons was even a bigger crime, it added.