Islamic scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri addressed a packed audience amid tight security at a city auditorium on Thursday.
A day before his lecture, Raza Academy, a city-based Sunni Muslim forum, had moved the Bombay high court seeking to restrain the Pakistan-born scholar from speaking in the city. The HC did not grant any relief to the petitioners on Thursday.
Qadri, who is on an All-India tour to create awareness about his 512-page document, ‘The Fatwa Against Terrorism’, spoke about Islam and terror. During his 150-minute lecture, Qadri did not bring up communal violence in Kashmir, a topic which he had discussed in an earlier lecture and given rise to controversy.
In his message of peace Qadri said, “Muslims do not have the right to instigate their followers against a common enemy in the guise of religion. We need to initiate a cultural dialogue between India and Pakistan based on mutual understanding and love. While isolation is against Islam, integration is its basis.”
While referring to the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, Qadri said that there was no place for terrorism in Islam. “Those people who brainwashed young minds to kill others in the name of religion have no right to call themselves Muslims,” he said. Qadri also observed a minute’s silence to condemn the attacks.
“Islamic terrorism is an oxymoron in the English language. True Muslims will never practise terrorism and terrorists cannot call themselves Muslims,” said Alyque Padamsee, ad filmmaker and theatre personality, who attended the lecture.
Members of the Raza Academy, who opposed Qadri’s arrival, were a disappointed lot. “Allowing Qadri, a Pakistan national, to address a city audience is a big disappointment and failure for our forum,” said Saeed Noori, president, Raza Academy, who staged a peaceful protest outside the lecture venue on Thursday.
“We will not interfere with the proceedings of his next lecture,” he added.
Qadri’s next lecture will be held at the Somaiya Ground in Sion on Saturday.