London, June 23, 2015
Families fleeing the UK to join ISIS is no joke. But recruiting a rent-a-cleric to issue new fatwas shows the naivete of the UK establishment trying to deal with this crisis. The infamous Dr. Tahirul Qadri has been the go-to fatwa guy for some Whitehall pen pusher or a very incompetent think tank. A few years ago, he issued a fatwa against terrorism, which is in the same league as fatwa against snowmen. Those who ordered the fatwa should at least have changed the title of the memo that was circulating in the internal emails.
They could have asked for a ‘fatwa against evil’, overarching all bad things.
Now comes the latest gimmick. A curriculum to combat radicalization in Muslim children. According to Tahirul Qadri, this should be made compulsory in British schools. Apparently this publication contains all the counter-arguments to successfully combat the poisonous ideology of ISIS.
Only if things were that simple. It is easy to churn out booklets and articles on any subject. Internet is full of such expert blogs and websites which are always used as vehicles for advertising other products. The product in this curriculum is not peace or counter-terrorism, it is the author himself.
Mr. Qadri is a proven liar and cheat, who has also been hired by the Pakistani establishment for his rabble rousing skills in his native country to pressurize the democratically elected Sharif government into subservience.
|Qadri addressing a crowd of his followers from his ‘container’ during the 2014 anti-government sit-in. (source:http://journalismtimes.com/actual-pm-pakistan-shahbaz-sharif-dr-tahir-ul-qadri/#prettyPhoto)|
He doesn’t live in Pakistan, but his livelihood appears to be based on the Minhaj foundation network of educational establishments in Pakistan. He is a skilled orator, and a master manipulator; bread and butter for the evangelical clerics from southern Punjab. He is extremely ambitious and has rose to prominence thanks to the superstitious nature of the ‘sufi’ Barelvi Islam. Qadri is famous for sharing spiritual experiences and dreams which somehow result in increased revenue for his Minhaj foundation.
Barelvis form the majority of the Pakistan diaspora in the UK. Most of the immigrants who came to the UK decades ago belong to this sect which takes its name after the city of Bareli in India where the founder of the sect, Ahmad Raza Khan was born. Ahmad Raza spent most of his life fighting a sectarian battle against the Deobandi and Wahabi clerics. His fatwas against these sects make an entertaining read; full of floral language and meticulously outlining all possible scenarios where the heresy of those infidels could be identified and shunned. Takfir was a favourite pass time of an average cleric in pre-partition India. It became a vocation after Saudi influence reached the newly found laboratory of Islam, Pakistan.
Mr. Qadri is a follower of Ahmad Raza, although many of his co-religionist Barelvis also have declared him an infidel and a crook.
Qadri was too much of a maverick to stick with the crowd. He carved out his own little sect which revolves around his person; a pseudo-sufi cult which has a religious face, Minhajul Quran foundation and political face, the PAT (Pakistan Awami Tahreek). His followers consider him to be the Sheikh-ul-Islam, a grand title for an intellectual pygmy. Some even elevated him to the title of the ‘Mujaddid’, the reformer of this era, but this claim would have been a step too far. To date, he has abstained from proclaiming this title for himself.
Mr. Qadri has been busy producing booklets on various contemporary and classical Islamic issues, none worthy of any scholarly merit, especially nothing to shift the Pakistani Muslim mindset to a better more enlightened understanding of the world. His spiritual and intellectual heritage is based on meaningless debates on matters of history and dogma which have no relevance to the modern world. He has tried to break free from that mould to appeal to a more educated audience with some success, but he still belongs to the same tradition which has given nothing to the Muslim world but endless schisms and divisions. They can’t even agree on sighting of the new moon on the same day!
Mr. Qadri’s tolerance mantra is not only superficial, it is a deception. As a young cleric of rising fame during General Zia’s dictatorship, Qadri claims to have forced the dictator’s hand to create the infamous blasphemy laws. According to Qadri himself, not even children or insane people could be spared their life if they had insulted the Prophet of Islam.
|Qadri taking the credit for introducing the death penalty for Blasphemy in Pakistan (sourcehttp://www.downvids.net/mullah-tahir-ul-qadri-caught-red-handed-telling-the-most-blunt-434499.html)|
Freedom of religion and expression is a fundamental human right and the Quran enjoins all Muslims to establish and safeguard this right for all mankind. Tahirul Qadri’s ideological foundations are still deeply rooted in the small-minded distortion of Islam that indoctrinates all its followers to keep the avenue of violence open, albeit theoretical. It is this fundamentally flawed ideology which he cannot correct without reneging on his own claims and more importantly, to go against the very core of his barelvi beliefs.
The most recent ISIS recruits, three Bradford sisters and their children are a typical example of the impotence of this so-called sufi Islam. Barelvis have long been loosing ground to the more puritanical Wahabi beliefs in all over the world. First and second generations of many immigrant families have been abandoning their highly ritualistic, traditional Pakistani Islam to join the more puritanical and seemingly more intellectual wahabi/salafi Islam.
They keep what is common between the two sects; lack of tolerance for those who criticise Islam and absolute rejection for those who chose to leave Islam. According to them death is the only Islamic punishment for those who insult Islam or become apostates. Why do they act surprised when some of their children take such horrendous beliefs to their logical conclusion and travel to Syria?
Islam is need of reform and a return to the fundamental truths and principles of freedom and respect as outlined in the Quran. And for that to happen, selfish and opportunist clerics like Qadri must be challenged. They have fooled their followers for too long. Will the British public, including the British Muslims continue to play fools for such charlatans?