Earlier today (Saturday) Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI), one of the largest Islamic movements, hosted a rally at Wembley Arena outside London. According to the Press Association, Dr. Qadri “received a standing ovation from thousands of UK Muslims as he denounced terrorism and called for peace.” The Pakistan-born scholar said,
In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists. Islam has nothing to do with any act of terrorism. We reject every act of extremism and terrorism unconditionally.
Inviting Muslims and others around the world to join him in making a Declaration of Peace, Dr. Qadri also called for “jihad against extremism and terrorism”.
Late Saturday afternoon US Eastern Time news reports are still sparse, even in the British media. Maybe more on Sunday morning. Check back again for links.
The Associated Press reports: The event in Wembley arena was led by Mohammad Tahirul Qadri of Pakistan, who gained recognition outside the Muslim world after he published a detailed fatwa against terrorism and suicide bombings last year. “I want to address those who are lost, who have a total misconception of jihad. I want to send them a message — come back to normal life. Whatever you’re doing is totally against Islam,” he told the audience, which included families with young children and students. (As reported in DAWN, which also ran the AP photograph at the top of the post.)
It is worth noting that neither The Telegraph nor The Guardian (nor any large US media) seem to have — yet — given attention to the rally. After scanning the British newspapers online front pages I searched for “Qadri”, “MQI”, and even “Wembley” and nothing specific to Saturday’s event popped-up. Similar sparse results came from a Google news search. I found the BBC report only because I made a specific search. (The suicide bombing of a Christian church in Indonesia is, at the same time, getting “top of the fold” attention in many English-speaking media.)
Minhaj-ul-Quran International, founded by Dr. Qadri, operates in 90 nations. The number of followers is difficult to accurately project, but MQI is especially strong in Pakistan where it operates more than 1000 educational institutions with over 120,000 students. The Wembley event was broadcast to Pakistan and more than a dozen other nations.
The text of the so-called London Declaration for Global Peace and Resistance Against Terrorism is available on the MQI website.