Suicide Attacks from an Islamological point of view

A crime against Islam?



The Quran states in Surah “Al-Maida”, verse 32, as follows:

“…that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men…”

And in another place in the Quran we read in Surah “Al-Baqqara”, verse 195, as follows:

“…and spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good….”

The one-week seminar has adopted these two quotes from the Quran, which constitutes the most central and the most important source of Islam, as a lead-thought.

The steady rise of suicidal assassinations on a worldwide scale since the Year 2001 - a dangerous development that has given rise to great concern on an international level and is especially plaguing Muslim countries– has unfortunately also reached Afghanistan, the year 2005 being the most devastating so far. The consequences for the civilian population are harrowing as these assassinations cause the weakened public safety level to further deteriorate dramatically. They do not only pose a serious challenge to the political establishment of the country, but the instrumentalisation of the religion for the justification of suicidal assassinations constitutes a challenge to Islamology as well.

The seminar avails reputed Islamologists a platform, so that they can work together on this issue and reach a consensus as to the Islamic perspective on this issue. The people of Afghanistan can look back on a successful tradition of resistance devoid of the use of suicidal assassinations, the resistance against the former Soviet Union is testimony to this fact; therefore the seminar is of a time-critical value. The ideology of Suicidal assassinations is not rooted in Afghanistan’s long tradition of resistance, it is in direct conflict with this tradition and it is a foreign ideology imported to Afghanistan from abroad, the afghan civil society, especially the Afghan youth has to be mad e aware of this fact.

The guests invited to this seminar are requested to address the following central questions that are related to the topic:

1.What is the Islamic position on the problem of militant suicide, which is employed as a military weapon?

2.How does Islam define the borderline between martyrdom and illegitimate suicide?

3.How does Islamology view the application of suicidal assassination as a means of militant resistance used by the weaker side in a military conflict? Can military weakness be a condoning factor?

4.How should young people vent their disenchantment with a political system and which activities does Islam permit and offer to those amongst the young generation in Afghanistan who tends to adopt militancy as a mode of resistance?

Can the subjective perception of lack of perspective, and in some cases objective lack of perspective, be used as an excuse for suicidal assassinations?

5.How does Islam condition and legitimize forcible resistance? Can Muslims in our times tie up with any historical tradition of resistance that is in line with Islamic teachings?

These and other questions are to be discussed and dealt with during the one-week seminar in Kabul. Reputed Islamologists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arab world have been invited, in order to discuss the issue from different angles in a sophisticated manner. At the end of the discussion process a TV-event is intended, so that the results of the deliberations can be communicated to the public in Afghanistan. Moreover and ideally the seminar should produce a well-argued Islamological statement, it may be called “The Kabul Resolution against Suicidal Assassinations” that addresses and responds to the above issues and questions.

The presence of well-known Islamologists in Kabul for the duration of one week has to be taken advantage of in an optimal manner at different levels of discussions. Beyond its academic merits the subject in question has to be introduced to the Afghan civil society, especially the youth of the country, so that they are alerted to the arguments brought forward by eminent Islamologists against suicidal assassinations. Therefore the host will try to arrange for meetings with:

•Students of the Sharia Faculty, the Faculty of Jurisprudence and the Faculty of Political Sciences of Kabul University.

•Students of traditional religious institutions.

•Imams of the major mosques in Kabul; in this meeting the option of a joint Friday sermon is to be discussed.

The host intends to structure the seminar as follows:

Day 1

Monday, 7th of May 2007

Arrival of the distinguished guests in Kabul, one or two meetings in the afternoon at the KAS-headquarter in Kabul

Day 2

Tuesday, 8th of May 2007

In the morning internal deliberations of the group at the KAS headquarter in Kabul. Meeting with and inclusion of the Imams of the most prominent mosques of Kabul and Herat in the discussion process in order to discuss the option of a joint Friday sermon and preparation of the sermon

Day 3

Wednesday, 9th of May 2007

In the morning, discussion with University students and students of traditional religious institutions

In the afternoon, internal deliberations of the group

Day 4

Thursday, 10th of May 2007

In the morning, Preparation and Finalization of the Friday sermon

Day 5

Friday, 11th of May 2007

Friday Sermon

Day 6

Saturday, 12th of May 2007

Recording of the TV-presentation with Recording of the TV-presentation

Individual statements and Press Conference

Publication of the “Kabul Resolution”

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Dr. Babak Khalatbari

Head of the KAS office in Pakistan

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