Just found a link to this BBC report on the Casuals United blog (who are amusingly and incorrectly trying to take credit).
Back on September 25th “about 12,000 Muslims gathered at Wembley Arena for Islamic group Minhaj-ul-Quran’s Peace for Humanity Conference where a campaign launched to get one million signatories by 2012 for this online declaration of peace.
Apart from the entire absence of environmental concerns in the declaration, and the now standard over-emphasis on the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a cause of world unpeace, this is my kind of declaration. Even if you, like some of my readers to my political right and left, favour hitting things and people to get your stuff done and find his determinedly non-violent stance cramps your style, this declaration should be read (by susceptible non-Muslims, anyway) as an antidote to the anti-Muslim suspicion and consequent stereotyping which hounds these times, and as a light shining ahead to a more together global society. These were the parts I liked best:
7. We reject as mistaken and spurious any assertions made by both Muslims and non-Muslims that the world is currently locked in an inexorable struggle between Islam and the West and we commit ourselves, through positive and mutually respectful engagement and dialogue, to oppose any and all claims of clashes of civilisations or the incompatibility of the values in various regions, states and communities.
9. Whereas we do not overlook the real or perceived grievances that may serve as a causative fuel for terrorist violence, and we call upon all national and local governments to address those grievances with haste and resolve, we commit ourselves to the non-violent resolution of those issues as well as to the removal through education and dialogue of conspiracy theories that seem to blinker some peoples’ worldviews.
15. We declare that there is no difference between an Arab and a Jew, between a Muslim and a Christian, between a Hindu and a Sikh, between a black person and a white person, or between a man and a woman. All humans are equal and must be treated with equal respect, dignity, compassion, equality, solidarity and justice.
16. We unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism (including when sometimes it is disingenuously clothed as anti-Zionism), Islamophobia (including when it is sometimes disingenuously dressed up as patriotism) and all other forms of racism and xenophobia.
19. We call on all governments to protect minorities against all hatred, intimidation and violence, especially from ultra-nationalism or religious intolerance.
The conference’s keynote presentation was given by Minaj ul-Quran founder Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, a classically trained cleric – of Sufi persuasion – from Pakistan now based in Canada. One particular contribution of his was an enormous review of Islam’s pronouncements on terrorism, which led to his issuing a 512 page fatwa proscribing terror and detailing the principles and terms of engagement for just war. To return to where we began (the approving Casuals):
“Amid all this fatwa flashing, many Muslims fear divide and rule – and suspect that someone, somewhere will use Dr Tahir ul-Qadri to further that agenda. The scholar sees this as the signs of paranoia brought on by a weakness – and his answer is to expand his organisation’s mission in the UK beyond its 10 mosques and 5,000 members. So will Dr Qadri’s fatwa do some good or end up on the great big pile of similar denouncements? An hour after he delivered his address, the former leader of al-Muhajiroun, a group recently banned for extremism, turned up at the doorstep of a news channel and asked to go on air to counter Dr Qadri. Would he have bothered if the scholar was such an irrelevance in the battle for hearts and minds?”
It sounds as if, if the Casuals and their ilk try to claim Qadri, he will know how to put them in their place.