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LUCKNOW, Feb 25: Muslim scholars on Monday condemned terrorism as un-Islamic. They issued the edict at a leading madressah in northern India which some believe inspired the Taliban movement, a senior cleric said.

A declaration by scholars and clerics representing different sects of Islam also called on the government to ensure Muslims were not harassed in the name of terrorism, Maulana Shaukat told reporters.

Speaking from the 150-year-old Darul-Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur, 435km from the Uttar Pradesh capital, he said about 20,000 scholars and clerics took part.

The declaration said: “Islam is a religion of mercy for all humanity. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism.

“It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murder among severest sins and crimes. Islam prohibits killing of innocent people.”

The group called on the government to ensure “the Muslim community are not harassed and tortured in the name of terrorism”.

Adil Siddiqui, another spokesman for the Deoband school, noted that “whenever there is any incident of terrorism, every possible attempt is made to link it to Muslims, particularly who have studied in madressahs. This is totally wrong.”

The declaration comes after several incidents of global terrorism involving Indian Muslims. The most prominent is Kafeel Ahmed, an Indian aeronautical engineer, who died during a botched attempt to attack Glasgow airport in June last year.

His brother Sabeel, a doctor, is also being investigated by British police over his alleged involvement in the Glasgow attack. Charges against a third Indian, Mohammed Haneef, a doctor working at a hospital in Australia’s Gold Coast, collapsed.

Political analyst Rasheed Kidwai welcomed the declaration, saying: “In the Indian context, the declaration is significant as it reflects the growing anxiety among the clergy over the involvement of some Indians in alleged terror plots.”—AFP