The leader of a global Muslim movement on Tuesday issued a fatwa (religious edict) against acts of violence and terror in the name of Islam, calling the perpetrators of violence and their mentors as "heroes of hellfire".
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former Pakistani diplomat who is the founder of formidable Minhaj-ul-Quran movement, unreservedly condemned terrorist attacks and suicide bombers and urged the Muslim world to take a firm stand against those who bring Islam to disrepute.
"Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching. Islam is a religion of peace. It promotes goodwill, beauty, betterment, goodness and negates all forms of mischief, strife and division," he said.
Delivering a lecture in London, Qadri frequently referred to the holy book of Quran, Companions of the Prophet, Hadith and leading Muslim imams to prove his point that Islam did not allow individuals and non-state groups to launch attacks on civilians and opposition targets.
"Islam absolutely condemns violence and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and it is our Islamic duty to condemn acts of terrorism without any ifs or buts, without any excuses, pretexts and selfish justifications.
Those who perpetrate violent attacks and target humanity act outside of the ambit of Islam, they are the enemies of Islam," he said.
Qadri was joined at the fatwa launch event by government ministers Jim Fitzpatrick, Shahid Malik, Muhammad Sarwar MP, Dominic Grieve MP, representatives of various Muslims organisations, government departments and security think-tanks.
The 600-page 'Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism' has been extracted from Qadri's latest research work titled 'Dehshet Geri aur Fitna-e-Khawarij', in a reference to those rebels who had taken up arms against Imam Ali (AS).
The launch of the fatwa is being regarded by many circles as a significant and historic step, the first time that such an explicit and unequivocal decree against the perpetrators of terror has been broadcast widely.
The fatwa is considered arguably the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism as demonstrated by Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their like-minded sectarian groups.
To those who laud suicide bombers and praise their acts, Qadri said they are in unison with "heroes of hellfire".
"They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martydorm operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma.
"No, they indeed become heroes of hellfire, and they are leading towards hellfire. Their actions have nothing to do with Jihad," Qadri, who has a sizable following in Europe said.