Taliban spurn Islamic scholars' conference on suicide bombings
On Thursday, the Afghan Taliban issued a statement dismissing a planned religious conference in Kabul next month as "clear American intrigue." The Afghan peace envoy had proposed the conference in a visit to Pakistan in November.
The conference, organized by the Afghan government, is expected to draw Muslim scholars from all over the world to condemn suicide bombings as un-Islamic, the Christian Science Monitor reports. It will build on the October pronouncement by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, that explicitly condemned suicide bombings. Although an official gathering of Afghan religious scholars this summer determined that suicide attacks "have no legitimate foundation in Islam," its declaration, like other similar pronouncements in the past, has clearly been ignored by the Taliban and allied militant groups.
The Afghan Taliban criticized the forthcoming conference as an attempt to "create mistrust among Mujahideen, paving a way for the US to perpetually control Afghanistan," according to the Express Tribune.
The Taliban policy statement called instead for the Ulema (religious scholars) -- especially those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia -- to support the mujahideen, their "spiritual offspring," as a matter of religious duty and to boycott the "fraudulent gathering."
Umar Daudzai, the Afghan ambassador, has urged Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads an influential faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in Pakistan, to promote participation in the conference, the Express Tribune reports. Rehman, who has supported the Taliban, was himself the target of an attempted suicide bombing in 2011.