October 30, 2008 No.

Clerics' Conference In Lahore Issues Prohibition Against Suicide Attacks Inside Pakistan

On October 14, 2008, clerics from 28 religious groups in Pakistan held a conference at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa in Lahore. The conference was organized by the Muttahida Ulema Council of Pakistan. In a fatwa agreed by consensus, the clerics declared suicide attacks inside Pakistan to be haram, or forbidden in Islam. [1]

The following are excerpts from the 21-point declaration issued by the clerics and distributed to journalists at the end of the conference: [2]

"The world of Islam, especially Pakistan, is confronted by such heartrending, dangerous and miserable situations; [the Ulema] express sorrow and anger at the activities of the enemies of Islam which are full of... cruelty, force and despotism, [and] strongly urge Pakistan's residents not to be sad about these situations... they should be ready to confront the shared conspiracies of President [George] Bush, the U.S., India, Israel... and Afghanistan, the child in their arms....

"A great responsibility is thrust upon the Ulema and saints to confront the rulers and their allies who, with the help of our enemies and our own army, are [using] attack planes on our own people to bloody and destroy humans, Pakistanis, homes and farms. The need of the hour is for the Ulema and mystics to come out of their monasteries and chambers... and to provide scholarly, intellectual and awareness leadership to the residents of Pakistan....

"Outside Pakistan, the U.S. and its companions have made Islam and Muslims the targets of their cruelty, and in Pakistan they have declared the Ulema and madrassas to be abodes of terrorism. Their objective... is to deprive Pakistan of its essence. Under the pretext of the local and external suicide attacks, the sphere of influence of the American plans is being gradually expanded.... [Everyone] is playing their part in putting into practice the conspiracy to dismantle Pakistan by 2015, as per the U.S. plan.

"It is therefore the duty of the residents of Pakistan to play their practical role in the defense of Pakistan. Therefore:

"1) The Pakistani nation, performing the role of the world’s brave nations, should not cut itself off by handing over responsibility for Pakistan’s security and survival to rulers, politicians and parliamentarians alone; instead it should play its role fully.

"2) Public opinion against the U.S. and its companions should be prepared in such a way that whenever a call is issued, [people] abandon their personal and group interests and descend into the practical field.

"3) The advantage [of resistance fighters] in numbers forcing out the troops of the U.S. and its allies from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kashmir and all occupied countries should be increased so that they fail in their plans and are forced to leave.

"4) The security of Iran is indivisible from the survival of Pakistan; therefore, Iran should especially raise the Iran issue on the agenda of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

"5) The world should be made aware of the way India is being provided with nuclear energy [under the India-U.S. nuclear deal] and of the dangers of this on the international scene.

"6) An all-parties conference of parliament and political parties [not represented in parliament] should be convened to prepare a consensual strategy.

"7) The bombing of Pakistani areas, the raining down of missiles, and the indiscriminate [Pakistani] military operations should end forthwith.

"8) "The Ulema, religious persons, and nation-loving elders in all areas [of Pakistan] should be consulted when apprehending criminals, anti-national elements, and foreign agents, and these should receive exemplary punishment.

"9) The series of anti-Islam policies and measures inside the country [Pakistan] should be stopped.

"10) The attitude of duty and obedience to foreign powers should end; nation-loving people [of Pakistan] should be led together and their legitimate demands met as far as possible.

"11) A cautious way out of our current foreign policy, especially the shameful and deceptive agreement with the U.S. for cooperation against terrorism, should be found to extricate us at the earliest, which is in reality a path to our own security.

"12) The interest/usury-based financial system should be ended.

"13) It is Ulema’s fatwa by consensus that suicide attacks inside Pakistan are haram [forbidden in Islam] and illegitimate, but it appears that the government is clandestinely backing these attacks so that the lovers of the nation do not come together in order to launch a people’s movement for the defense of Pakistan, and [so that] they do not gather in one place by the hundreds of thousands.

"14) The pacts concluded [with the U.S.] during the [time of former Pakistani president Gen.] Pervez Musharraf and by the present government should be presented to the public.

"15) The Muslim countries should introduce their own common currency by ending their currency’s linkage to the [U.S.] dollar. The Muslim nations’ common currency will be extremely valued, and with regard to this, [the Muslim nations] should come out of the misplaced and so-called state of fear.

"16) During their sermons next Friday, October 17, imams and preachers should condemn the [Pakistani] government’s American policies and prepare the people to be mentally ready for a people’s movement.

"17) The campaign of contemptible propaganda against religious madrassas and religious circles should end.

"18) The constitutional role of the parliament is not only to receive briefings [on the national security situation from the army, as recently happened]; rather, the parliament should recognize its status and should, instead of limiting itself to [these] briefings, play its role in determining military policy and in the defense of national sovereignty.

"19) A representative delegation of the nation’s senior Ulema should tour Bajaur and Swat and other tribal areas in order to bring out the factual realities [of the clashes between security forces and the militants].

"20) The activities of Qadianis [Ahmadi Muslims] and Christians should be noted.

"21) The Ulema of Karachi support this declaration in principle."

[1] Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt, Pakistan, October 15, 2008.

[2] A copy of the declaration is in MEMRI’s possession.