DUBAI, (Reuters) – Muslim scholars from a dozen countries on Thursday condemned suicide bombings by Islamist rebels in Moscow and Dagestan as “criminal terrorist attacks” that violated their faith.
The 24 scholars, including five prominent muftis from Russia, also spoke out against recent violence in Iraq and expressed their condolences to victims and their families.
The Russian bombings killed at least 50 people and injured another 100 in less than three days, stirring fears of a major bombing campaign by Islamist insurgents.
“Islam absolutely upholds the sanctity of human life and no grievances, even when legitimate, can ever be used to justify or legitimate such murderous and evil acts,” said a statement by the scholars issued in Dubai.
Chechen rebels claimed responsibility on Wednesday for two suicide bombings that killed 39 people in the Moscow metro and threatened further attacks in the Russian heartland.
Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov said in a video posted on Islamist rebel website www.kavkazcenter.com that he ordered the Moscow attacks in revenge for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s policies in the mainly-Muslim North Caucasus.
The video was posted just hours after two suicide bombers killed at least 12 people in the North Caucasus region Dagestan.
The statement by the mainstream muftis, theologians and Islamic officials reflects a trend among them to try to express what they say is widespread rejection among Muslims around the world of violence by militants claiming to act in Islam’s name.
Among the signatories were the grand muftis (top Islamic jurists) of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Bosnia and the head of the Russian Mufti Council.
The scholars represented major schools of Islam and came from India, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. The declaration was issued by an Islamic think tank, Kalam Research and Media, in Dubai.
In a separate statement, the Libya-based World Islamic Call Society, which unites 250 Muslim organisations around the globe, also condemned “the recent vicious terrorist attacks perpetrated against innocent fellow human beings in Moscow and Dagestan. “Islamic principles and ethics are absolutely against such evil,” Secretary-General Muhammad Ahmed Sharif said.