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20,000 Scholars Declare Terrorism as Un-Islamic [Darul-Uloom Deoband]


terrorism.gifYet another proof that the vast majority of mainstream Muslims scholars are not ambivalent about the scourge of terrorism. They also make an important point of disconnecting terrorism from madrassas, because that is an unfair and often unproven stereotype:


LUCKNOW, Feb 25: Muslim scholars on Monday condemned terrorism as un-Islamic. They issued the edict at a leading madressah in northern India which some believe inspired the Taliban movement, a senior cleric said.

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A declaration by scholars and clerics representing different sects of Islam also called on the government to ensure Muslims were not harassed in the name of terrorism, Maulana Shaukat told reporters.

Speaking from the 150-year-old Darul-Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur, 435km from the Uttar Pradesh capital, he said about 20,000 scholars and clerics took part.

The declaration said: “Islam is a religion of mercy for all humanity. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism.

“It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murder among severest sins and crimes. Islam prohibits killing of innocent people.”

The group called on the government to ensure “the Muslim community are not harassed and tortured in the name of terrorism”.

Adil Siddiqui, another spokesman for the Deoband school, noted that “whenever there is any incident of terrorism, every possible attempt is made to link it to Muslims, particularly who have studied in madressahs. This is totally wrong.”

The declaration comes after several incidents of global terrorism involving Indian Muslims. The most prominent is Kafeel Ahmed, an Indian aeronautical engineer, who died during a botched attempt to attack Glasgow airport in June last year.

His brother Sabeel, a doctor, is also being investigated by British police over his alleged involvement in the Glasgow attack. Charges against a third Indian, Mohammed Haneef, a doctor working at a hospital in Australia’s Gold Coast, collapsed.

Political analyst Rasheed Kidwai welcomed the declaration, saying: “In the Indian context, the declaration is significant as it reflects the growing anxiety among the clergy over the involvement of some Indians in alleged terror plots.”—AFP

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. Irum Sarfaraz

    February 26, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    We need to send this to every major newspaper in the US.

  2. theManOfFewWords

    February 26, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    Irum, sorry to say but you sound very naive. 20,000 scholars condemn terrorism and on the same day ONE Palestinian gives the finger to an Israeli. Guess which will make the front page.

    Though I do think we should at least try.

  3. SaqibSaab

    February 26, 2008 at 12:52 PM

    I agree with both of you, and theManofFewWords, read what she said carefully, bro. :)

    We need to send this to every major newspaper in the US.

    We need to send this, meaning do our part, try, etc. As for what the media does or doesn’t do, different story. =/

  4. Br. Daoud

    February 26, 2008 at 12:53 PM

    >>The declaration said: “Islam is a religion of mercy for all humanity. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism.<<

    As tempted as we may be to jump on the bandwagon and start parading this declaration, I think it serves us to look at it carefully. Islam condemns all kinds of violence? Surely violence against innocents is condemned. But how about violence against tryrants or violence against those who comit violence against you?

    Secondly, what is terrorism? I think any document that purports to denounce it should start by defining it.

  5. MR

    February 26, 2008 at 12:59 PM

    20,000 scholars condemn terrorism.

    20,000 Muslims die from terrorism.

  6. Manas Shaikh

    February 26, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    Br Daoud

    The points you make are valid.

    I agree that this is not without it’s faults. But it is a positive effort and I pray Allah accept their efforts.

    That said: nobody actually defines terrorism very well. Except that everybody agrees “terrorism” is bad. It’s actually titular argument. And works both ways. All violences that one perceives as bad are “terrorism.” Therefore, for Muslims, Serbs (don’t get me wrong- the govt; not the people) are the terrorists and for the Serbs, Kosovars are the terrorists.

    Violence is allowed as a last resort. Agreed- but it is not encouraged. I think that’s what they actually meant.

  7. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    February 26, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    I got to say I share Br. Daoud’s sentiments.

    For good or ill, as far as I can tell, this is a ‘political’ statement more so than a very rigorous fatwa. Maybe we’re not getting the full story but by this I mean that although the statement says something true and admirable and it may be good as a press release, I don’t think there’s any question any Muslim has about the ruling of a particular activity which could be answered by this ‘fatwa.’

    I think an interesting study or analysis would be to compare the way that such issues are discussed by Deobandi scholars in India and Deobandi scholars in Pakistan, and just more generally the whole way in which Deoband has created its particular brand and style of “minority fiqh” for the Indian context.

  8. AnonyMouse

    February 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM

    Hmmmmm… I’ve been hearing/ reading so much about scholars condemning terrorism and stuff, that now I just don’t care about it anymore.
    Call me cynical, but do we REALLY think the mass media cares about how many Muslims condemn terrorism? Oh sure, they SAY that they want to hear from us… but when we DO speak out on the subject, how much (positive) press do we actually get in comparison to all the other stuff that’s in the news about Muslims?
    It’s totally unproportional… bah. I’ve pretty much given up hoping that announcements such as this are going to have any impact at all anymore.

  9. theManOfFewWords

    February 26, 2008 at 5:30 PM

    You know … I would like to know what else they did. 20,000 scholars get together and denounce terrorism, but really they could have just phoned that in. What else did they do.

    You have 20k of these people, I am sure they ate a lot, they probably networked, some marriage deals got cooked up, They obviously prayed in congregation, some Quran recitation, probably a naat or two, a couple of long winded introductions then speeches. Contemplative beard stroking, a little beard envy here and there.

    Token local politician shows up, token national politician follows up. Ok We condemn terrorism, everybody signs, photo ops, congratulatory hand shakes and back slaps.

    time for desert, angry tussle between a gang of Hanafi students and that shafi’i who dares tell people about it. They all regret it because an older mullah gives them a lecture about how they should treat mubtadi’s with respect. Shafi’i leaves pissed off.

    Everybody get’s ready to leave when someone makes the adhan for maghrib. Pray and then depart.

    A day well spent … all that sound and fury for the press and none of the problems of the muslims solved. Yay!

  10. theManOfFewWords

    February 26, 2008 at 5:31 PM

    i’m sorry that yay at the end was too much … i dont know what I was thinking.

  11. theManOfFewWords

    February 26, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    saqibsaab, by the way, even if I agree with someone I like to make my tone combative, that’s just me, for better or worse.

  12. Amad

    February 26, 2008 at 6:06 PM

    your story has a fatal flaw (actually one of many)

    All deobandis are hanafis unless a lost-vahabi wanders in by accident.

    I am afraid of the day when you will go from being a man of few words to a man of a bit more words… I mean we’ll have to just give you the blog and let you comment away… you could almost argue with yourself until neither you nor you will be convinced. I’d love to see that internal shakedown. ;)

  13. Amad

    February 26, 2008 at 6:11 PM

    Btw, I added the story to Dailykos and had a comments blitz. I love the way people can get myopic:

    Some were too concerned about their homosexuality to worry about the rest of the humanity… “hey why weren’t we mentioned”.

    Others were worried that the Sheikhs didn’t specifically denounce all those bad Palestinian suicide bombers (note to myself: always include them next time). Of course, conveniently ignoring those who kill the Palestinian kids before they become bombers (its called preemptive justiifed Israeli targetted friendly removals).

    But other than that, most others were positive.

  14. Ahmad AlFarsi

    February 26, 2008 at 6:28 PM

    time for desert, angry tussle between a gang of Hanafi students and that shafi’i who dares tell people about it. They all regret it because an older mullah gives them a lecture about how they should treat mubtadi’s with respect. Shafi’i leaves pissed off.

    this cracked me up :)

  15. theManOfFewWords

    February 26, 2008 at 8:19 PM

    Amad, I can’t argue with myself … I’m always right. Talk about fatal flaws.

  16. Malik

    February 26, 2008 at 8:40 PM

    One thing you might consider in your “How to deal with the media” series, Amad. We non-muslims read on a regular basis these condemnations of specific attacks and terrorism in general, and the consensus I have found speaking to many folks is that it follows a certain formula which says to us that y’all aren’t “getting it”. Usually the formula consists of this: the letter spends one short paragraph denouncing terrorism and how it is “un-Islamic” then goes on to spend several more longer paragraphs warning about the dangers of “Islamphobia” and the (practically non-existent) harm to the Muslim community if the non-Muslims get the wrong idea.

    No where does it touch on the problems in the Qu’ran, the culture of Islam, etc which causes the violence and offering solutions.

    Just FYI, if you want good PR you gotta stop issuing highly-qualified and self-serving memos.

  17. Amad

    February 26, 2008 at 9:02 PM

    “practically non-existent”, huh? I guess you have been keeping up with all our posts and making sure to add your usual blurb, but somehow you missed this:

    Let’s destroy-a-mosque project

    Until you open your islamophobic eyes to see the obvious and undeniable signs, symptoms and actions of islamophobia, then I think we cannot have an intelligent conversation any further.

    As for your other comment, look up the sub-category Islamophobia here, or search on google, and you’ll find plenty of refutations of misinterpretations of Quran. But I don’t think you or your ilk care for that. Because even if offered, you won’t accept it. If you did, then you wouldn’t have a reason to hate. And bigots need reasons to hate. That is how they thrive and live their lives. It will be meaningless otherwise.

    So, apparently you are an ex-Muslim, Malik. What kind of Muslim were you, if you don’t mind me asking? Shia, Sunni, “Qadiyani-Muslim” (oxymoron) or other variety? And why do you reckon that many people who leave Islam suddenly become Islamophobes and spend all their lives spreading malicious lies about it? I mean what’s their obsession with it? It’s like they can’t get over it, so they keep trying to attack it in order to make themselves feel better about their decisions? But you don’t see that of former Christians do you? I mean, Musa, Ruth, Ahmad (all former Christians) don’t spend their lives hating on Christians, do they? Rather, they are productive and propagate what they have converted into. So, why don’t you and other ex-Muslims do something productive and propagate whatever you went into, if you really liked it so much to leave Allah’s religion?

    Just some thoughts.

  18. ruth nasrullah

    February 26, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    Just a point of accuracy – I’m not a former Christian. I was raised without religion and never practiced any religion except Islam (alhamdulillah). But the rest is true :)

  19. Ibrahim

    February 26, 2008 at 10:43 PM


    All deobandis are hanafis unless a lost-vahabi wanders in by accident.

    Ahh! Not so! There have always been a few students from south India (Kerala), who are mostly Shafi’. And are not wahabi by any means.

    On a serious note, whatever comes out of Darul Uloom (in political terms) in this era should be judged carefully. Darul Uloom is increasingly under pressure by India govt. and other sources to “modernize”, which really means changing your thoughts. It’s in a unique and hence all alone situation: A major Islamic university in a non-Muslim country.

    Now, I wait for my Indian brothers to come and tell me that Muslims are not in any difficulty in India, and it’s Pakistan where Muslims really suffer!

  20. dario

    February 26, 2008 at 11:40 PM

    Wow, that’s a lot of scholars. I personally don’t really think that PR moves like this are that effective. I think a lot of people have already made up their mind about Islam and all that it entails so it doesn’t really matter what they hear. I’m not really a big fan of the religion but have no problem with its followers. My attitude towards all religions is generally a “to each his/her own” type of mentality.

    I think the best way to change people’s opinions, not about a religion but about a group of people (whether it be on a religious or ethnic basis), is to just get involved in the community on a local basis. Seeing members of other faiths working together and helping not just members of their own following but people they probably disagree with as well can do wonders to impact how you are viewed by others. Anyways, thats my own naive 2 cents

  21. amad

    February 27, 2008 at 12:01 AM

    actually dario, you are quite right. There is no better way to change opinions than by community involvement, interactions with your neighbors, class-mates, co-workers, etc. And I think Muslims are getting more involved by the day, and that is almost mandatory considering the well-funded and well-organized islamophobia campaign by the right-wingers and “the lobby”.

  22. Irum Sarfaraz

    February 27, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    Br Daud:
    ‘Surely violence against innocents is condemned. But how about violence against tryrants or violence against those who comit violence against you?’
    Wouldn’t this be more like self-defence? I personally believe there is a difference between ‘violence’ and ‘self-defence’ which would include defending your personal self, your identit, your religion, and your country.

    I may sound very naive to a lot of people but considering all my articles that get rejected by the papers in my area, I have come to the conclusion that we just need to keep bombarding them with even news such as this that might seem very trivial. The scholars who met at this conference may have played checkers in the end for all I care but the point is that 20k of them did get together and condemn violence such as suicide bombings, bombings of innocents, kidnapping non-muslims, etc. etc.

    Yes I agree the media will give front page to the Muslim who called the Jew a name but even if my story makes ten lines on the back page, I will consider it an accomplishment. The fact that it will make the back page or perhaps no mention at all shows how insignifent we and our stories are. So lets get together and make real noise, i.e start sending in more stories to more papers regularly, so that our stories may make front page too.

  23. theManOfFewWords

    February 27, 2008 at 5:24 PM

    Malik, stop being a goober …

    Problems in Quran and culture?

    Have you even read the Quran? (malik in mickey mouse voice “as a matter of fact I have!”)

    Honestly bro look at your own culture and tell me what about it causes so much violence, chaos, destruction, pollution and racism across the entire world.

    What an arrogant *** you are. Bomb the crap out of Muslims and then when a couple of them get ticked off you blame it on the culture.

    That’s like trying to lynch a black guy and when he fights back you say “see black people are violent. Let’s analyze black culture and see what goes on in their churches.”

    Palestinian watches his daughter get dismembered by an American made vulcan cannon mounted on an American made Apache copter piloted by an Israeli then the father snaps and shoots up some fundamentalist settlers who snipe at Palestinians for fun at night.

    Why did he do it? Cuz it says so in the Quran. Get a fricking brain!!!

    I wish Muslims actually WERE more violent, maybe then less people would mess with them and they wouldnt wind up with US backed dictators as leaders.

    Muslims are too damn pacifistic!!! Yeah I said it. Most just get upset complain and then go back to whatever they were doing. But 50 guys in pakistan light a car on fire and Muslims are all violent. ***!

    Check your damn culture. Who the hell do these people think they are? They watch the Fox propaganda channel’s 12 minute special on Islam and now they are experts stickin out their chests demanding Muslims reform. Reform your damn selves!!! Islam mistreats women … Ha … I cant go one day without hearing a woman being refered to as a bitch in the US! What’s the rape rate like in this country anyway? How many abortions happen in the US every year? Why do you destroy the Mexican economy then treat their refugees like criminals … I could go on and on and on and on …

    But I think it would be better if you just shut the hell up.

    That’s right goober SHUT THE HELL UP.

    MOFW, language please. If we let people rile us up, then they have got us where they wanted. We cannot be “more violent” because our religion doesn’t teach us to counter injustice with more injustice. -MM

  24. Amad

    February 27, 2008 at 6:47 PM

    There is an excellent report that was issued by the UN on the Israeli occupation that is obviously being silenced by the US media. It blames the occupation for the terrorism emanating from the area. The author presents reasons that are very measured and logical. The author is NEITHER Arab NOR Muslim.

    Of course, Israel and its powerful lobby, which I only call “the Lobby” will dismiss it as UN’s bias against Israel. That is what I find humorous: why would these people be favorably biased towards Muslims? I mean what could the Palestinians give this poor man (poor because of how he will be lambasted and defamed by the Lobby) or other Human rights activists?

    This report definitely deserves a post. If MOFW, you want to take the lead, and send me a measured write-up (no emotional outbursts :) ), maybe we can collaborate and put it up??

    Report: Israeli occupation causes terror

  25. theManOfFewWords

    February 27, 2008 at 6:52 PM

    I wasnt riled up … I was using strong language…

    Ill take the language suggestion under advisement though it was intended for dramatic effect …

    Violence does not equal injustice … according to US propaganda the Iraq WAR was the use of violence in the pursuit of democracy and justice … Terrorism is what is forbidden … what I am talking about is violence in defense of one’s land, people, family and one’s self. This is universally accepted amongst ALL peoples not just Muslims.

    Hell some people justify the war in Afghanistan because we supposedly went there to protect women’s rights. If they can get away with saying that then what’s the problem with what I said.

    PS those asterisks make it sound like I used a really bad curse word when I think the word i used was pretty tame …

  26. Ahmad

    February 27, 2008 at 9:28 PM

    Was it goober? Come one I really want to know….

  27. Amad

    February 27, 2008 at 9:37 PM

    the asterisks stuff wasn’t tame bro… anything pertaining to descriptive terms for human anatomy isn’t usually tame :)

    Let’s move on… Did you read the article I linked to??

  28. theManOfFewWords

    February 27, 2008 at 9:47 PM

    Asterisk word is a term of endearment in my city … maybe i should move.

    move on? Dont tell me what to do! :)

    Yes, I read it … noticeably absent was any comment from a Palestinian though they gave the Israeli ambassador a chance to rebut.

    You wanna me whip something up quick … sure … where do I send it?

  29. Amad

    February 27, 2008 at 9:49 PM

    info at //

  30. abu abdurrahman

    February 28, 2008 at 12:16 AM

    20k scholars from india….

    they had one in Pakistan a some 6-8 months ago. It was condemning suicide bombing. But I strongly suspect some political motives behind it. Maulana FazluRahman was heading it. and that was at the height of US’s decision to go after the terrorists.

    A way of saying “Look I’m not with terrorists so you(US) can pick me as your next heir.”

    Interestingly, his contemporary Qazi Hussain Ahmad(who also sticks to his ideals a bit more) wasn’t there.

    But all in all, political motives or not. I think these are good and should be done more frequently. Anyway, Maulana FazluRahman’s house was hit by a rocket a couple days after.

  31. A Teddy Bear Named Azrael

    February 28, 2008 at 2:27 AM

    Muslims condemn terrorism all the time. I hear about it after any attak. Always the same lines about killing innocents is a sin against Islam..but what do you consider innocents? Only other muslims or how about a christian aid worker or civilian building roads? you condemn’s up there with rioting and “mischief” as the severist of sins..So, what is the muslim community actually DOING about it? These are ANIMALS (cowardly animals) out there committing crimes against humanity in the name of Islam and their “brothers” do nothing but have meetings and make statements condemning their actions. Why not take visible and swift action to COMBAT terrorism and restore the good name of Islam? I’m sure that funding would not be a problem..Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait… Who better to infiltrate these terror organizations than their “brothers.”
    Don’t worry, I actually understand why..I’ve seen it first hand many first and most lasting impression, but by a longshot not the last example was during the first Gulf War..the liberation of Kuwait..Kuwaitis who were abroad during the invasion and came back as translators to support the US military as we prepared to take back their country from Saddam’s forces..A noble gesture, I thought, but one ANY man of honor would do if it were his own country. However, on the first day they showed up and were briefed on our mission and where they would actually be on the battlefield, I will never forget the reaction..”We did not know we would be near the front lines! I want to go to Riyadh!” I was infuriated! I did not care to have ANY of them stay with us! The type of man that won’t fight when their country is invaded and their own people are held hostage will not fight to protect the good name of their religion from those who twist and distort it to serve their own means.
    Even he terrorists/ insurgents are cowards. That is why they rely on roadside bombs and retarded suicide bombers to “deal blows to the enemy.” They would never have the resolve or the belief in what they are doing to stand and fight man-to-man for what they believe in. They are nothing but animals who do not care who they kill or can even logically think about why they are killing.
    Stop condemning and DO something about it! Stand up and fight back! Shut down these idiots who are the reason you are persecuted! Stop with all the “An-shah-Allah” and take matters into your own hands..Be the sword of Allah that these cowards claim to be in vain! They are the greatest haram by far in Islam well above any other! (or is stoning women who are raped more your style..yeah, they can’t really fight back..get out of the stone age..get civilized)

    This was not written in anger, just mostly disgust in general. I’m not a christian or a jew..I could care less about religion other than feel disgusted when idiots hide behind it. I also know that there were Kuwaitis that stood and fought and died for their country and I honor and respect them, but they were the exception and not the norm.

    If you really condemned these acts, then you would actively do whatever you could to stop it! If you don’t soon, the rest of the world will, but it will get harder and harder for good muslims.

  32. theManOfFewWords

    February 28, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    1. Saddam, US ally was given the go ahead to invade Kuwait THEN the US “liberated” it. Just for context.

    2. Who do you want to stop terrorism? Muslims? They do, in Egypt, Saudi, Jordan, in pre-Invasion Iraq, Morrocco, Pakstan, Iran, Syria. All these governments are fighting terrorism. The average Muslim has no power to investigate, pursue, arrest and prosecute Muslims.

    Muslims have very little power to do much considering their oppressive US backed governments. But when they do, like lawyers protesting and going toe-to-toe with riot police in order to preserve an independent judiciary in pakistan and struggle for “democracy” the US supports tyrant Muharraf and doesnt say a word of support for the democracy advocates.

    3. Kuwaitis dont represent all Muslims Contrast their cowardice with those fighting in Iraq, afghanistan, palestine, chechnya, and elsewhere. They are fighting numerically and materially superior forces and have not given up. Remember the darlings of the US the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Russians? No courage there?

    4. calling resistance fighters cowardly for not fighting superior military forces is inaccurate. They are using guerilla tactics … like the American revolutionaries against the British …
    not cowardly, smart and effective when fighting a foreign army, not when killing innocent civilians.

    5. Also, those Muslims who are actuallly fighting are too busy fighting aggression against Muslims by imperial powers. Some of them may also have no choice but to ally with extremist terrorist groups so long as they are fighting against the same enemy as what is happened in Iraq with al-Qaeda and the resistance. However, al-Qaeda’s tactics led the Sunnis to reject them and fight against them … which may be what you are asking for … Muslims fighting terrorists.

    6. Furthermore, I would like to ask what YOU have done to stop your country from committing acts of terror? If you live in the US or Britain then you should have tried to stop the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US backed occupation of Palestine and invasion of Somalia, the US backed Israeli bombing of Lebanon killing 2000 innocent civilians last summer. What did you do? It sounds like you were in the military … did you resign in disgust at the continued bombing and sanctions of Iraq that continued after the Gulf War which killed HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of CHILDREN???

    Did you? If you did then you may have some right to speak, if not then you are being a hypocrite. I hope it the former, but if its the latter, then see my final comment I wrote for MALIK above.

  33. Faiez

    February 29, 2008 at 1:25 AM

    I wish 20,000 scholars would get together to discuss and plan bigger things.

  34. Silverarrow

    December 6, 2008 at 9:05 PM


    Is it interesting how you switched the topic from apostacy to international foriegn policy?

    So can you answer what the Muslim community is doing to combat the killing of apostates? Why is the Muslim community silent on this issue?

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