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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Fatwa issued against Taliban after Malala Yousufzai shooting

Sunni Muslim clerics in Pakistan have issued a fatwa calling the Taliban's austere interpretation of Islam as 'abhorrent' and 'un-Islamic' following the attack on 14-year-old rights campaigner Malala Yousufzai.

In the decree, issued on Saturday, some 50 clerics appealed for their countrymen to express solidarity with Malala who remains in a critical condition at a hospital in Rawalpindi after she was shot while on her way to school in the restive Swat valley on Thursday.

Malala gained international recognition two years ago after writing a BBC Diary detailing the plight of women and girls under the Taliban which had accused her of "promoting secularism".

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan group claimed responsibility for the attack, warning it will attack her again if she survives.

The Sunni clerics, belonging to the Ittehad Council, said in their combined fatwa: 'Islam doesn't prohibit women from getting education. The attackers transgressed the Islamic Hudood (principles).'

The clerics, who belong to the moderate Barelvi school of thought, described the interpretation of Islam by Taliban as repugnant to the teachings of Islam since the religion not only makes it obligatory on its followers to seek education. 'Islam also strictly forbids taking the life of any innocent person,' they pointed out.

Former federal religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi said the decree had come at the right time. 'Islam holds the killing of even one innocent person equal to the killing of the whole of humanity. It also forbids executing a woman who has even reneged on her religion. Men are punished with death for the same offence,' Kazmi said.

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