Terrorism, oppression and violence has been declared un-Islamic by around 20,000 Muslim leaders following a scholars' meeting at an Indian madrassa, according to a senior cleric quoted in The Times newspaper in the UK.
In a declaration, leaders representing different strands of Islam also called on the Indian government to ensure that Muslims were not harassed in the name of terrorism, Maulana Shaukat said.
Shaukat was speaking from the 150-year-old Darul Uloom Deoband madrassa at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, northern India.
That the gathering took place in a Wahabi setting is regarded as additionally significant, given the influence of this conservative movement on hard-line Islamist activists, including the Taleban.
Adil Siddiqui, another Deobandi representative, noted that “whenever there is any incident of terrorism, every possible attempt is made to link it to Muslims, particularly who have studied in madrassas. This is totally wrong.”
The declaration says: “Islam is a religion of mercy for all humanity. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism.”