Pakistani religious scholars pass fatwa against terrorism

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Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain described the fatwa as hugely significant during the release ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. (Photo/Press Information Department, Ministry of Information, Pakistan)
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Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain described the fatwa as hugely significant during the release ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. (Photo/Press Information Department, Ministry of Information, Pakistan)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Pakistani religious scholars pass fatwa against terrorism

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prominent religious scholars have delivered a fatwa in which they unanimously declared all forms of terrorism and suicide attacks un-Islamic.
Their fatwa (decree) was summed up in a document called “Paigham-e-Pakistan” — or “Message from Pakistan” — which was released at a ceremony they attended at the Presidency in the presence of the leading stalwarts of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party.
Expressing his confidence in the decree, President Mamnoon Hussain told the audience that the document would be pivotal in countering sectarianism, terrorism, and extremism. He said that the consensus among religious scholars to issue the decree was a monumental step toward progress, adding it would not only present a positive image of the country but also highlight Islam as a religion of peace.
A copy of the 49-page document obtained by Arab News is signed by 1,829 clerics from all Islamic schools of thought in the country. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif urged the citizens to accept the decree and support state institutions in their war against terrorism.
Asif said that the government would not allow Pakistani soil to be used for militant training and recruitment or launching attacks against other countries.
“The fatwa, which condemns terrorism and extremism, has also been endorsed by Pakistan’s Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Education and Religious Affairs,” said President House spokesperson Farooq Adil, adding that it “is also our comprehensive state narrative against terrorism.”
Adil told Arab News that the decree document was drafted on the request of the state. The task was given to the International Islamic University, which not only has religious experts but also communicates with other religious scholars, sects, and civil society. After numerous meetings and deliberations over a span of several months, the decree was unanimously drafted and agreed.
Sharing its salient features, Adil said the fatwa was based on the Constitution of Pakistan, which “is an Islamic constitution that is built upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”
Some of the major points of the decree state that the “Constitutions of Pakistan is an Islamic and Democratic document and it is a social contract between all (federating) units of Pakistan, which enjoys the support of (Islamic) scholars of all schools of thought.”
The document adds that “in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, there is nothing in Pakistan which is contrary to the Qur’an and the Sunnah and no individual or group has the right to start any sort of armed struggle against the state of Pakistan and its institutions in the presence of this constitution.”
The document also condemns the groups who use force in the name of implementing Shariah, saying their acts are repugnant to the basic teachings of Islam. “Moreover, revolt against the Constitution of Pakistan and imposing one’s own ideology on others with force is contrary to the injunctions of Shariah and is thus riot on earth. This is also a national crime according to the constitution and laws of the Islamic Republic. In order to put an end to such destructive activities, comprehensive administrative, educational, ideological and defense measures will be taken.”
Paigham-e-Pakistan also maintains that “there is a need for modern establishment of Pakistani society in line with the requirements of the Constitution of Pakistan, which eradicates the tendencies of hate, narrow-mindedness and intolerance.”
“We have seen many fatwas in the past, but this is a comprehensive one and has covered all issues in an effective manner,” said Qari Mohammed Hanif Jalandhri, secretary-general of the largest federation of Islamic seminaries, Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia, while speaking with Arab News.
The decree may not be enough to stop terrorists acting as “soldiers of Islam,” but it would prevent misinterpretation of the religion, said Dr. Yaseen Zafar of the Salafi Madrasa Board.
“We wanted to send out a clear message that all religious scholars are against extremism and terrorism. Hopefully, this will also deoxygenate militant networks and gradually make them irrelevant,” Zafar told Arab News.
Former Chairman of the Madrasa Education Board of Pakistan Dr. Amir Tauseen agreed that it was important to issue a fatwa with consensus. However, he added that what was more important was its implementation.


US security chief in Moscow as nuclear treaty hangs in balance

Updated 22 min 31 sec ago
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US security chief in Moscow as nuclear treaty hangs in balance

  • John Bolton is expected to discuss Trump’s plan to jettison the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Putin
  • “It is the United States that is eroding the foundations and main elements of this pact” said Putin’s spokesman

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington’s withdrawal from a key Cold War-era nuclear treaty would make the world more dangerous, as Donald Trump’s national security adviser met senior Russian officials in Moscow.
John Bolton is expected to discuss Trump’s plan to jettison the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
On Monday, Bolton discussed the fate of the treaty with Russian Security Council Chief Nikolai Patrushev and was expected to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later in the day.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that ditching the treaty “will make the world more dangerous” and rejected US claims that Moscow has violated the pact, instead accusing Washington of doing so.
“It is the United States that is eroding the foundations and main elements of this pact” with its missile defense capabilities and drones, he said.
Lavrov said he was waiting to hear Bolton’s “official explanation” regarding Trump’s intentions, adding that for the moment the US side has not initiated the official procedure for exiting the treaty.
Trump on Saturday claimed that Russia had long violated the treaty, known as the INF.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” he told reporters.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” he said.
“And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons (while) we’re not allowed to.”
Trump’s announcement raised global concerns, with the European Commission urging the US and Russia to pursue talks to preserve the treaty and China calling on Washington to “think twice.”
The Commission, the 28-nation European Union executive, stressed that the INF has been a mainstay of European defense for the last three decades.
“The US and the Russian Federation need to remain in a constructive dialogue to preserve this treaty and ensure it is fully and verifiably implemented,” spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.
She said the agreement was important for both European and global security.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said a unilateral withdrawal from the treaty “will have a multitude of negative effects.”
Trump argued that the treaty does nothing to hold non-signatory China back from developing missiles, but Hua said that “it is completely wrong to bring up China when talking about withdrawal from the treaty.”
The treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles was signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.
Gorbachev on Sunday said that “dropping these agreements... shows a lack of wisdom” and was a “mistake.”
The INF resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals.
The latest row between Russia and the United States comes ahead of what is expected to be a second summit between Trump and Putin this year.
Analysts have warned that the latest rift could have lamentable consequences and drag Russia into a new arms race.
The Trump administration has complained of Moscow’s deployment of Novator 9M729 missiles, which Washington says fall under the treaty’s ban on missiles that can travel distances of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 and 5,500 kilometers).
Britain’s The Guardian newspaper said that Bolton himself is pressuring Trump to leave the INF and had blocked talks to extend the New Start treaty on strategic missiles set to expire in 2021.
US-Russia ties are under deep strain over accusations Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. The two countries are also at odds over Russian support for the Syrian government in the country’s civil war, and the conflict in Ukraine.
On Friday, the US Justice Department indicted the finance chief of Russia’s leading Internet troll farm for allegedly interfering with US congressional elections to be held in November.
Russia accused the United States of fabricating the charges.
Putin and Trump will both be in Paris on November 11 to attend commemorations marking 100 years since the end of World War I.