Tuesday, July 19, 2005

British Muslim Fatwa

Via the BBC, what follows is the full text of the British Muslim Forum's fatwa condemning the 7/7 atrocities.
We wish to express our sincere condolences to the families of all the victims of the London attacks. We pray for the swift recovery of all those who are recovering from injuries.

There are many questions emerging from the London bombings. One of the most important questions is what does Islam say about it?

To answer this question Muslim scholars, clerics and Imams from all over the UK have been consulted to issue this formal legal opinion (fatwa) so that Muslims and non-Muslims can be clear about Islam's stance on such acts.

Severe condemnation

On behalf of over 500 clerics, scholars and Imams the British Muslim Forum issues the following religious decree:

Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives.

There is neither place nor justification in Islam for extremism, fanaticism or terrorism. Suicide bombings, which killed and injured innocent people in London, are haram - vehemently prohibited in Islam, and those who committed these barbaric acts in London are criminals not martyrs.

Such acts, as perpetrated in London, are crimes against all of humanity and contrary to the teachings of Islam.

The Holy Koran declares:

"Whoever kills a human being, then it is as though he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a human life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." (Koran, Surah al-Maidah (5), verse 32).

Islam teaches us to be caring towards all of Allah's (God's) creation, not just mankind. The Prophet of Islam who was described as "a mercy to the worlds" said: "All creation is the family of Allah and that person is most beloved to Allah who is kind and caring towards His family."

Islam's position is clear and unequivocal: murder of one soul is the murder of the whole of humanity; he who shows no respect for human life is an enemy of humanity.

We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism in the world.

We pray for peace, security and harmony to triumph in multicultural Great Britain.
This is undoubtedly a sincere communication from Britain's moderate Muslim community. And I don't doubt the Koranic verses they use to justify their position that Islam is not an inherently violent religion, but rather a peaceful religion that denies the nihilistic impulse of suicide bombers. The only problem is that the Koran has other passages that contradict the passages cited by the British Muslim Forum. So which is it? If Gabriel, the archangel, faithfully gave Allah's word to Mohammed, why the inherent contradictions? As an atheist, I can posit why these contradictions appear, because it's a flawed human document without divine inspiration, which evolved out of a weak religious group which then grew to predominate power throughout the Middle East. If it's not, then Allah is one confused omnipotent and omniscience supernatural being.

That being said, I'm very happy with the British Muslim Forum's statement and hope more fatwas are issued from Muslim scholars and clerics the world over against the forces of jihad. There is a struggle for Islam's soul, hopefully it will follow the historical examples of Christianity and Judaism which have come to a detente with modernity and pluralistic democracy.