SHAFAQNA -Â The worldâ€™s leading Islamic scholar on countering the ideology of Isis today suggest that British Muslims hold a mass march for peace to publicly demonstrate that they do not â€œquietly condoneâ€ terrorism.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Pakistani theologian who achieved international fame after issuing a fatwa against suicide bomb attacks, said a major display of the communityâ€™s commitment to tenets of peace and non-violence â€“ which he insists are central to Islam â€“ would help counter the message of Islamist violence.
That murderous philosophy was in evidence across the world on Friday, with tourists massacred at a beach resort in Tunisia, the suicide bombing of a Shia mosque in Kuwait and a man beheaded in France.
But, in a leafy suburb of London, Dr Qadri was plotting a fightback of a most peaceful kind. The scholar, who has received death threats for stating that violence is wrong and Islam is a religion of love and compassion, is on a visit to Britain to promote ideas designed to break the vicious circle of terrorist attacks and Islamophobia.
Dr Qadri toldÂ The Independent that he would raise the idea of a march at a meeting of up to 700 imams, community activists, students and other people interested in his ideas in London.
Such a public demonstration would â€œshow that the Muslim community at large, they are for peace, they are against any kind of terrorism, they are not silent, they are vocal and they donâ€™t condone, they condemn it,â€ he said, echoing David Cameronâ€™s controversial remarks earlier this month that some British Muslim communities â€œquietly condoneâ€ the â€œpoisonous ideologyâ€ of Isis.
Dr Qadri said that if the march took place he hoped people of other faiths would make it a display of solidarity between different religions. â€œIf the non-Muslim community also joined that march to show integration it would become more [significant] and the people would see they were together,â€ he said.
Speaking of the â€œextremely brutalâ€ terrorist attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, he said: â€œI condemn it a hundred times and it is the responsibility of every Muslim leader and scholar, every senior Muslim person, to condemn it.
â€œThese are criminals, the enemies of humanity, the enemies of religion, the enemies of morality, the enemies of human values.â€
He said he respected countries that opposed the death penalty, but called for them to impose the strongest sentence on such terrorists â€“ and said he personally believed they should be executed.
â€œThey should not be forgiven, they donâ€™t deserve any kind of softness,â€ Dr Qadri said.
Their actions, he said, were specifically proscribed under Islam and effectively meant they were no longer Muslims. â€œThose who attack civilians, Islam says they will go to hell. They will never even smell the fragrance of paradise,â€ he said, stressing that this applied to those who killed Muslim and non-Muslim civilians alike.
â€œThe person who promotes these kinds of things and thinks this is lawful â€¦. he goes and leaves Islam, he does not remain faithful or Muslim anymore because of this belief.â€
His message that Isis has â€œnothing to do with the Koranâ€ is the central one in an educational curriculum he launched in London earlier this week.
About 10 schools and â€œhundredsâ€ of mosques have already expressed interest in the curriculum and Baroness Warsi, the former Cabinet minister and the first Muslim to hold such a post, urged the Government to introduce it in all schools. It includes books such asÂ Muhammad the Peacemaker andÂ Islam on Serving Humanity.
The idea of a mass peace march won tentative support from a leading member of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Ameena Blake, the MCBâ€™s assistant secretary-general, said she planned to raise the subject with the groupâ€™s executive committee.
â€œIt would certainly be something we would be interested in looking at,â€ she said. â€œIt needs to be multi-faith because the British public are losing trust in Muslims because of the confusing messages they are getting.â€
And she said it would be â€œabsolutely wonderfulâ€ if David Cameron and other leading members of the Government would â€œwalk alongside Muslim organisations and individualsâ€ on the march.