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Orthodox Muslim sect to issue fatwa against Islamic State terror group

Ahle Hadith, a large Sunni Muslim sect that emulates the ultra-orthodox Salafist brand of Islam, is set to declare “terror tactics” and the Islamic State (IS) as “un-Islamic” through a fatwa or a religious edict at an Islamic conference here on March 9-10, the body’s chief said on Wednesday.

In 2007, the influential Darul Uloom seminary in UP’s Deoband had issued a similar anti-terror declaration, but this is the first time that a prominent religiously conservative group closely identified with Salafists will rule against the IS.

The fatwa has been endorsed by 40 senior scholars associated with the New Delhi-based Markazi Jamiat Ahle-Hadees Hind, the main body representing the sect, Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahadi Salafi, the group’s leader told HT.

Salafi said the edict is a public reiteration of an “extraordinary fatwa” passed against the “self-made caliphate of Daesh” on February 15, 2015. IS is popularly known as Daesh in Arabic.

A small number of Indians are believed to have joined IS and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has officially implicated the group for inspiring a train explosion in Madhya Pradesh on March 7, 2017.

Ahle Hadith was founded as a 19th century Islamic movement in north India.

Salafism is cited by several analysts as the ideological precept guiding the al-Qaeda and other jihadist organisations. “This is to prevent our youth from being lured by the ISIS…” Salafi said. An estimated 40,000 madrasas, or theological schools, in the country are affiliated to the Ahle Hadith sect.

Many Muslim social organisations have disavowed terrorism in recent years. “I think it’s our Constitution, our judiciary and civil society which are great avenues of justice. This makes the Indian Islamic model the only pragmatic and workable model…” said Akhtarul Wassey, former head of Islamic Studies at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia.

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