The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism


Editor’s Note: This is Part II of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I, see last week’s article: “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam

Last week, after jihad terrorists Mujaahid Abu Hamza and Ismail Ibn Abdullah (formerly Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale) were convicted of murder for beheading British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street, I had an exchange with the prominent British “moderate” Muslim spokesman Mohammed Ansar on Twitter. Ansar asserted:

Know that despite the claims of these killers, Islam does not allow for their actions. They are wrong in Islam. They are wrong in the law.

Knowing that Mujaahid Abu Hamza had invoked the Qur’an on camera moments after murdering Rigby, I asked Ansar:

Adbolajo invoked the Quran sura 9 right after the killing. Can you please refer us to an exegesis of sura 9 that refutes his views?

Ansar responded:

“Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings” a 512 page Islamic analysis by Qadri, that terrorism is unjust, evil + un-Islamic.

This didn’t really answer my question, as I was asking for sources giving a peaceful interpretation of sura 9, that is, Surat at-Tauba, the ninth chapter of the Qur’an, which Mujaahid Abu Hamza specifically invoked to justify his murder of Lee Rigby. Instead of offering that, Ansar referred me to Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri’s Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings. But as this massive fatwa is a monument of “moderate Islam,” I figured it was worth a look.

To be sure, I had never placed much stock in this fatwa as a genuine exercise in Islamic moderation, as Qadri was a chief framer of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, which have been used to victimize countless Christians in Pakistan. Still, his fatwa is often touted as the quintessential refutation of the “extremist” understanding of Islam, so it warrants careful consideration.shutterstock_87225730

I thought I’d start by searching for what Qadri says about certain verses of the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, that jihad terrorists often invoke to justify jihad violence and Islamic supremacism. After all, if he is a genuine reformer, then he is likely to offer a refutation of the jihadist interpretation of such verses and an alternative understanding of them, right?

So here are some of the Qur’an verses I searched for in Qadri’s voluminous document:

2:191-193:  “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”

Qadri refers to this passage once (p. 197) but offers no explanation of the commands to “slay them wherever you come upon them” or to “fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s.”

4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!’”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”

Qadri only mentions this verse in the “Index of Qur’an Verses” at the back of the book, including only a partial quote with no commentary or explanation.

9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfills his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”

Qadri does not mention this verse — an exceptionally curious omission in light of the fact that he does include an extended condemnation of jihad-martyrdom suicide bombing.

9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.

47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”

Qadri does not mention this verse.


Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri

There is a difference between reform and deception. Reformers confront what they are wishing to change. They show why they think the established view is wrong and offer an alternative. Qadri does not do that. He simply ignores key elements of the jihadist understanding of the Qur’an, offering no refutation or alternative explanation of verses that all too many Muslims believe are commanding them to do violence.

Thus the Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings, for all its reputation among those who have placed such great hopes in the emergence of a peaceful form of Islam based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, cannot be considered a true reformist document. Instead, Qadri stands as yet another deceiver trying to lull gullible non-Muslims into complacency about the nature, root causes and magnitude of the jihad threat. Mohammed Ansar in Britain must be aware of his glaring omissions; that he would recommend Qadri’s work anyway is also extremely revealing about the “moderate” Muslim camp in Britain.

And so, over 12 years after 9/11 and after innumerable calls for moderate Muslims to step up and reclaim their faith theologically from the “extremists,” we are still waiting for them to do so – and basing public policy on the false assumption that this has already been done. It’s a recipe for disaster.


images courtesy shutterstock / Smailhodzic