A leading Muslim scholar with a large following in Britain on Tuesday issued a fatwa — or Islamic religious ruling — condemning global terrorism and suicide bombings in a “direct challenge to al—Qaeda’s violent ideology.” Pakistan—born Muhammad Tahir—ul—Qadri, the founder of the global Minhaj—ul—Quran movement, made his formal proclamation of a fatwa, or religious edict, at a news conference in London.

The 600—page fatwa says that “suicide bombings and attacks against civilian targets are not only condemned by Islam, but render the perpetrators totally out of the fold of Islam, in other words, to be unbelievers.” Mr. Qadri described the al—Qaeda movement as an “old evil with a new name” and said he believed that the overwhelming majority of young Muslims in Britain had not yet been radicalized and would “think again” on reading his proclamation.

Those who had already been “totally brainwashed” would not listen, said Mr. Qadri, but others would have “doubt” sewn in their minds.

“You don’t become a terrorist overnight. It is a journey ... Many are already on that road but they have not yet arrived to become suicide bombers,” Mr. Qadri told journalists.

He developed the document, which challenges the religious motivation of suicide bombers, in response to the rise in suicide bombings in Pakistan.

He said he hoped his arguments would attract the attention of politicians and security services in western

nations.

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