Pakistan: positive move

Barnabas Fund  |  World
Date posted:  1 Apr 2018
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The Pakistan Government unveiled an historic fatwa (religious ruling) in mid-January condemning Islamic extremism and vigilante ‘blasphemy’ attacks, in a potentially positive development for the country’s minority Christian community.

By issuing the fatwa with the support of 1,829 religious leaders the Pakistani Government is addressing extremism from a religious perspective.

Confronting ‘evil’

The fatwa declares that terrorist activity against the state, and in particular suicide bombings, are haram (forbidden under Islamic law). It also states: ‘We believe that spreading sectarian hatred, armed sectarian conflict and imposition of one’s religious ideologies by force are contrary to the shariah/teachings of Islam’, adding that there is a ‘religious obligation’ to confront ‘evil’ extremist ideology. It should be noted however that ‘extremism’ in the context of the ruling is defined as views deemed to be outside the body of mainstream Islam – this differs from typical Western definitions, which define ‘extremism’ in relation to issues such as democracy, human rights and freedom of religion.

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