Terror fatwa Imam fears student hate

By Jessica Elgot, October 6, 2011
Dr ul-Qadri: against terror

Dr ul-Qadri: against terror

A leading Muslim peace activist, who proclaimed a fatwa against terrorists, has called on the Orthodox Jewish communities to engage with him.

Dr Mohammad Tahir ul-Qadri, a Pakistani Sufi scholar, who was the keynote speaker at last month's "Peace for Humanity" conference in front of 10,000 people at Wembley Stadium, said he regretted organising the conference on Shabbat, because it had excluded traditional Jewish leaders from attending.

"The Jewish community at the conference were Reform and Liberal Jews, but I would like to see much more engagement with the Orthodox community too. It didn't occur to me, otherwise we would have changed the day. I want to make sure that doesn't happen next time."

Dr Ul-Qadri, who lives in Canada and who ran an anti-terrorism camp at Warwick University for Muslim students last year, said the rise of extremism on campus was a great cause of concern. "Extremists have already captured Islamic societies on campus, they have had them for 25 years. Now, we have to work to bring them back, softly. We are starting to spread the message of tolerance, through workshops and seminars.

"Until now, they didn't have any other version of Islam, other than Omar Bakri, Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban. This model of peace and moderation and democracy, from an Islamic perspective, was never given to them. Our students should be the ones organising interfaith on campus, with Jewish societies. But at a young age, they feel strongly and they mix up political issues with religious ones. Someone is always there to exploit these feelings and radicalise them. We have to stop that."

Last updated: 2:09pm, October 6 2011