"A Muslim scholar has issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, that says suicide bombers are destined for hell.Sounds nice, and I'd like to believe that what CNN says is the whole story. That's not a criticism of CNN, by the way. Any reasonably short summary of a lengthy document - particularly if the original is in another language, which this fatwa may or may not be - runs the risk of leaving out critical subtleties.
"Tahir ul-Qadri condemned terrorism and criticized Islamic extremists who cite their religion to justify violence.
"Ul-Qadri's 600-page fatwa is "arguably the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date," according to the Quilliam Foundation, a London organization that describes itself as a counterterrorism think tank...."
Like the much-vaunted Jihadist reform program run by Saudi Arabia, a few years back. Sure enough: terrorists who went through the program were (probably) convinced that they should renounce terrorism and not commit violent acts. Against the House of Saud. On the Arabian Peninsula.
After those little qualifiers leaked out, we didn't hear quite so much about the program.
In this case, I'd like to believe that the fatwa really says what CNN says it does.
What we read sounds very nice:
"...'Terrorism is terrorism,' ul-Qadri said at a news conference hosted by the foundation. 'Violence is violence. It has no place in Islamic teaching, and no justification can be provided to it ...'..."Given what we've heard so many times, though: I find it hard to take this at face value.
I hope that "terrorism" is not defined as acts of violence directed against Muslims without the direct approval of an imam; that "violence" is not defined as a destructive act committed by a non-Muslim under the direction of a Muslim - you get the idea.
Am I being overly-suspicious? Maybe. I rather hope so.
I'd prefer to believe that a few Muslim leaders, here and there around the world, are following the example of a mosque in Canada: and stepping into today's society.
For many, whose ancestors had been out of the loop since around the time Abraham moved out of Ur, the change is going to be very difficult. Others, not so much.
I think there is hope that Islam can exist in the Information Age.
That's not just wishful thinking. Quite a few Minnesotans are first- and second- generation Somali immigrants now: going through the same difficult process of putting down roots that many of my ancestors went through, not all that long ago.
Although some have dropped out of sight, to reappear in pieces in Somalia, most are quietly going about the business of making a living and raising a family. Don't expect to read about that in the news, though: that sort of common sense seems to confuse old-school news editors. (More: "Somali-Americans in Minnesota: According to The New York Times" (July 12, 2009))
- "Sudan, Women, Trousers, Culture and Common Sense"
(September 7, 2009)
- "Canadian Mosque's 'Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program' - Sounds Good"
(February 26, 2009)
- "Saudi Cleric Wants Women to Use One Eye - I'm Not Making This Up"
(October 4, 2008)
- "Saudi Arabia's National Day, Islam, and Tribalism: This is Big"
(September 27, 2008)
- "Is the War on Terror a War on Islam? Not Quite"
(December 8, 2007)
- "Saudi Breakthrough! Jihadists Reformed!! Al Qaeda Members Promise No More Jihad*!!!"
(November 27, 2007)
- *on the Arabian Peninsula, that is.
- "It's Arabic, Is It Islamic?"
(November 21, 2007)
- "Saudi Wisdom on Terrorism, Wife Beating"
(November 2, 2007)
- "Muslim scholar's fatwa condemns terrorism"
CNN (March 3, 2010)