Tahir ul Qadri launches “counter-extremism” curriculum

Tahir ul Qadri

Tahir ul-Qadri, prominent sufi Pakistani cleric, has launched a “counter-terrorism” curriculum in London to counter the message of groups such as ISIS and stop young Muslims becoming radicalised and travelling to fight in Syria.

Qadri said he wanted his 900-page curriculum, containing theological and ideological arguments to undermine extremists, to be taught not just at mosques and Islamic institutions but at schools across Britain.

“We want to make clear that all activities being carried out by ISIS or any other terroristic and extremistic organisations either in the name of God or religion or establishing any kind of Islamic state by acts of violence … are totally in violation of the Koran and Islam,” he told Reuters.

The launch of the curriculum, which is privately funded, comes after Prime Minister David Cameron called on Muslim communities to do more to stop young people being radicalised by groups such as ISIS, saying some Muslims were quietly condoning extremist views.

Cameron’s comments came after a 17-year-old from northern England blew himself up in Iraq in an ISIS suicide attack and three sisters are believed to have travelled to Syria with their nine children. About 700 Britons are estimated to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, many to join ISIS.

“The children who are going to ISIS and fighting over there and leaving the comforts of their own British society, they are going to hell,” said Qadri, who five years ago issued a fatwa declaring that terrorists and suicide bombers were unbelievers.

“They are our children. They are our sons and daughters. We have to save the future of mankind.”

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Asked how his academic work could counter this, Qadri, head of the global Minhaj ul-Quran religious and educational organisation, said 50 young Britons and 50 others in the rest of Europe were being trained to take his narrative online.

“This will be a two-way war, not only through books in the study circles, mosque and schools, but on social media too,” said Qadri who plans to take his curriculum to Pakistan, India, across Europe and to the United States.

Supporters of the campaign have been publicising the initiative on social media using the hashtag #AntiTerrorCurriculum.

They say it is the most high-profile attempt by the Muslim community itself to take on the “takfiris.”

But critics within the Muslim community say that Qadri lacks credibility with those who may actually be prone to radicalisation. They have also criticised the initiative for placing the emphasis on the Muslim community to clean up its act whilst downplaying factors behind radicalisation such as British foreign policy and Islamophobia and racism.

Others have objected to the proposal to effectively teach counter-terrorism in schools, thus institutionalising discrimination by targeting Muslims.


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