Muslim Decree Against Suicide Attacks Is Hailed

Should Be Extended Beyond Pakistan, Says Archbishop

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LAHORE, Pakistan, MAY 23, 2005 ( Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore welcomed a decree by Muslim clerics condemning suicide attacks in Pakistan and called for its extension to other countries.

«As Catholics, we too are against violent attacks since life is a sacred gift and we cannot take it away because God forbids it,» the archbishop said, according to AsiaNews. «Such edicts should be in other countries.»

Last Tuesday, 58 Muslim clerics from various schools issued a fatwa which decreed that suicide attacks violated Islamic teachings and were not an instrument for jihad.

The clerics specified that the fatwa was applicable only to Pakistan and was intended to dispel the idea spread by some religious organizations that suicide attackers would automatically go to heaven.

«This propaganda gives Islam a bad name,» the Muslims said in a statement. «With this fatwa, innocent people can be spared becoming a tool in the hands of the enemies of Islam.»


Mufti Muneebur Rehman, president of the Tanzeemul Madaris Pakistan, an association of religious seminaries of different schools, added: «Anyone who takes part in a suicide attack thinking that he or she had God’s blessings will not be considered Muslim.»

The fatwa declared the killing of innocent people «haram,» forbidden, and carries the death penalty.

Archbishop Saldanha said: «Pope John Paul II promoted a civilization of life and love, and we must do the same. Suicide belongs to a civilization of death.»

The archbishop further reiterated the Church’s opposition to all forms of murder such as abortion and euthanasia.

Muneebur Rehman added that Islam condemned planting bombs and attacking mosques or other places of worship or even public places. «Killing human beings has nothing to do with Islam,» he said.

Since 1980 more than 4,000 people have died in sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis. Last year 160 died.

Pakistan has a population of about 160 million, 75% of whom are Sunni Muslims, and 20% Shiites. Christians represent 2.5%; of these, some 1.2 million are Catholics.

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