Pakistani clerics endorse suicide bombings, reject proposed peace conference


tahir-ashrafi.jpg

Tahir Ashrafi, the head of the Pakistan Ulema Council. Image from TOLOnews.

The tortuous path of the Afghan government's plan for a regional ulema conference that would issue a fatwa condemning suicide attacks reached a new impasse yesterday when the head of Pakistan's ulema council stated that suicide attacks are permissible. The proposed conference, originally put forward by Afghanistan's High Peace Council, was agreed to by Pakistan in November, and then hit a series of snags as it was condemned by the Taliban in late December and early January.

The conference, which had been scheduled for January, was postponed; its agenda grew murky, the venue changed from Kabul to various other locations, and its fate became uncertain. It has been termed variously a "peace conference" and a conference on the issue of suicide bombings.

In an interesting twist, last month the Taliban changed their stance from condemning the proposed conference to demanding to take part in it. Reports suggested that Pakistan's position on the proposed conference mirrored that of the Taliban, which remained steadfastly opposed to a gathering that would potentially outlaw the tactic of suicide bombing. [See LWJ report, Karzai presses for fatwa on suicide attacks.]

Afghan officials have resisted the Taliban's demand to be included in the conference, suspecting no doubt that the Taliban would subvert the original goal of obtaining a fatwa against suicide bombings, and the event has appeared to be destined for limbo. Meetings between Afghan and Pakistani religious scholars on the proposed conference have reflected division between the two groups, and as of a few weeks ago they had apparently agreed only to hold a joint conference in March on the issue of attacks on civilians, according to Xinhua.

The picture became much clearer yesterday, however, when the head of Pakistan's ulema council announced that suicide attacks are permitted in Afghanistan so long as US forces remain in the country.

"Palestine is occupied by Israel, Kashmir by India, and Afghanistan by the US. So if the Muslims don't have the atomic bomb, they should sacrifice their lives for God," Tahir Ashrafi, the head of the Pakistan Ulema Council, told TOLOnews.

Significantly, Ashrafi's rhetoric on suicide attacks is identical to that of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. In January 2009, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan released a propaganda tape in which a jihadist said that "suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims."

In the tape, a teenage suicide bomber named Masood, who was involved with a May 2008 double suicide bombing in Lahore, stated: "Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims because Muslims do not have the latest weapons to fight enemies who are committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq."

The Taliban's influence is evident in the Pakistani clerics' recent letter to the Afghan ulema council, in which the Pakistani council stated that it would not attend the planned joint ulema summit, saying it was unwilling to criticize the Afghan Taliban's activities or issue a fatwa against them or their activities, Khaama Press reported.

In another interesting twist, Ahmad Saeedi, an Afghan political commentator, has claimed that the latest statement on suicide bombings by the head of the Pakistani ulema was issued at the request of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate, according to Pajwhok Afghan News.

Afghanistan's ulema council has rejected the position of its Pakistani counterpart, and maintains that suicide attacks are not permitted by Islam.

It is not surprising that the Taliban continue to sabotage any attempt to curtail the use of suicide attacks, which constitute one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. As data compiled by the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal show, the number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan rose from one in 2001 (the bombing that killed Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud on Sept. 9, 2001, two days before 9/11) to 736 by Sept. 5, 2011 (the date of the SAIR report), with a total of 3,755 fatalities.

Yesterday's statement by the head of the Pakistani ulema approving the use of suicide attacks in occupied Muslim lands also correlates with the increasing use of suicide attacks by the Taliban's close ally, al Qaeda, and its affiliates in jihadist theaters worldwide.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani clerics endorse suicide bombings, reject proposed peace conference"

Posted by Christopher Hobe Morrison at March 2, 2013 4:01 PM ET:

""Palestine is occupied by Israel, Kashmir by India, and Afghanistan by the US. So if the Muslims don't have the atomic bomb, they should sacrifice their lives for God," Tahir Ashrafi, the head of the Pakistan Ulema Council, told TOLOnews."

If he really wants people to sacrifice their lives for God, he should do it himself rather than asking others to do it, especially children.

Posted by g at March 2, 2013 4:48 PM ET:

Let's agree.

And then defend ourselves with our atomic bombs.

Posted by Kent Gatewood at March 2, 2013 5:24 PM ET:

Richard Fernandez's Three Conjectures postulates that at a certain, relatively low casualty level either the victim or other potential victims of muslim terror attacks will completely destroy the muslim world.

Ashrafi must not realize how cold blooded the rest of the world can be.

Posted by Lauren at March 2, 2013 8:57 PM ET:

Let them sacrifice themselves. It will save us the trouble of exterminating them

Posted by some1 at March 2, 2013 9:52 PM ET:

What interesting people are all those "clerics". They speak on behalf of God, while were not authorized by God to do so. They even tell people to "sacrifice themselves to God", while God may not want to have any such sacrifices. There may be a very special place for that kind of people, deep in the bowels of Hell.

Posted by Dave at March 3, 2013 2:40 AM ET:

Tahir Ashrafi, and any Islamic cleric promoting violence as a religious duty, should be martyred immediately. A rich bounty on a "Pakistani" website, with home and work addresses, should do the trick.

A couple hundred martyrs, and the next one will think twice about that giving that sermon or handing out that press release. These clerics are like smallpox: contagious, deadly, and we cannot stop until every last one is eradicated.

Posted by Jeff at March 3, 2013 4:18 AM ET:

The Ulema Council are the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Posted by I-RIGHT-I at March 3, 2013 7:23 AM ET:

What? You don't expect him to deny the faith of his fathers do you?

Posted by mike merlo at March 3, 2013 1:37 PM ET:

Pakistan has 'The Bomb.' Last I checked Pakistan is a Muslim/Islamic nation

Posted by Spurwing Plover at March 3, 2013 3:41 PM ET:

Terrorists welcome to the UN in fact YASIR(THATS MY BABY)ARAFAT got standing ovations from these UN wretches

Posted by K at March 3, 2013 11:17 PM ET:

Ashrafi looks like he has been eating really well, of course he doesn't want to sacrifice himself.

Posted by webdesigner at March 4, 2013 3:06 AM ET:

It is true when Ashrafi said "they should sacrifice their lives for God" because it was their practice ever since. Remembered what had happened on "crusades" history. So, sacrificing their lives is common to them.

Posted by mike. at March 4, 2013 11:06 AM ET:

g's post above make's a point.

Someone should point out that atomic bombs are not raining down on our enemies - and haven't been used as a weapon for almost 70 years (thank God).

For the sake of argument, if we accept his proposition that suicide attacks are equivalent to atomic bombs, then they should not be used - ever.

Also should point out that Muslim is not a state.

To look at the implications of this statement from another angle, if the Pakistani clerics' favorite political group, the Taliban, had an atomic bomb, they would support it being used as a field weapon in Afghanistan? Maybe on Kabul, the supposed seat of the 'occupation'? Or carry it over to the West (or East) and indiscriminately kill hundreds of thousands (so-called infidels and muslims alike)? I don't think they understands what they are saying, which is too bad, considering their position.

Posted by Stephanie at March 4, 2013 11:36 AM ET:

K,

Ha, ha ... I was just going to suggest that his wife get on the internet and look up some low calorie recipes ... looks like he's been having a few too many french fries ...

Posted by k at March 4, 2013 8:24 PM ET:

@step

there are two meanings to my statement, I hope you caught that?

Posted by Bob at March 4, 2013 10:28 PM ET:

If NATO were to use nukes like the Taliban use suicide bombers, there would cease to be Taliban suicide bombers.

Posted by Neonmeat at March 5, 2013 4:56 AM ET:

Why is this fat lazy guy issusing decrees from Pakistan instead of fighting the US occupiers in Afghanistan then, like a true Jihadi Muslim. What a disgusting hypocrit.

Posted by Stephanie at March 5, 2013 10:55 AM ET:

Neonmeat,

He had trouble passing the PT test. ;-)