This weekend a moderate Muslim group Minhaj-ul-Quran UK will hold the first major Muslim grassroots event in the UK specifically against Islamist extremism and terrorism. The group’s founder Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri made headlines earlier this year after he issued a 600-page fatwa against terrorism in which he condemned extremism with ‘no ifs or buts’.
The weekend’s three-day conference, ‘al-Hidayah 2010’, will explain Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s fatwa to over a thousand ordinary young British Muslims as well as training them to recognise Islamist extremism in their own communities and giving them the theological tools to tackle it themselves.
This conference is important because:
– It is the first time that so many young British Muslims (1,300) have attended a conference specifically against Islamist extremism.
– Unlike many previous ‘denunciations’ of extremism, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri condemns terrorism and extremism ‘with no ifs and buts’ and also critiques the Islamist concepts of the Caliphate and of making a single interpretation of the Shari’ah into state law.
– Minhaj-ul-Quran is very influential and respected among British Muslims especially those of South Asian background. It is one of the largest movements in Pakistan and has branches in 90 countries and ten regional centres in the UK.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said: “I have announced an intellectual and spiritual war against extremism and terrorism. I believe this is the time for moderate Islamic scholars who believe in peace to stand up.”
Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman of Minhaj-ul-Quran UK, said: “This is the first anti-terror camp of its kind Britain has witnessed and I believe this will change the concepts of many Muslim youth who will learn directly from the scholar who issued the Fatwa on Terrorism. It will be a severe blow to extremist groups in the UK.”
A Quilliam spokesman said: “When Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri released his fatwa against terrorism earlier this year, people asked how he would get this message to the people who most need to hear it. This weekend provides the answer: a three-day event at which major, genuinely moderate Islamic scholars will train 1,300 young British Muslims to recognise and tackle Islamist extremism. This event will give young Muslims the confidence and the theological tools to go back to their own communities across the UK and root out the virus of extremism and intolerance.”