Afghanistan’s Rabbani sought fatwa against suicide bombing: daughter

October 18, 2011

(Supporters of Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and head of the government's peace council, hold a picture of him as they stand outside his house a day after he was killed in Kabul September 21, 2011/Ahmad Masood)

Just days before he died when a Taliban militant detonated a bomb hidden in his turban, Burhanuddin Rabbani was trying to persuade Islamic scholars to issue a religious edict banning suicide bombings. The Afghan former president’s 29-year-old daughter said in an interview that her father died shortly after he spoke at a conference on “Islamic Awakening” in Tehran.

“Right before he was assassinated, he talked about the suicide bombing issue,” Fatima Rabbani, who had watched a replay of her father’s speech on television, told Reuters. “He called on all Islamic scholars in the conference to release a fatwa. You know: in Islam killing yourself is forbidden.”

Several Taliban officials were present at the two-day event which brought together some 600 Islamic scholars. Rabbani did not sit with them at the same table.

A former leader of a powerful mujahideen party during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, Rabbani was chosen last October by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to head the High Peace Council, created to negotiate peace with the Taliban.

Fatima, who had lived in the United Arab Emirates since 1997, said she was planning to set up a foundation in her father’s memory to teach young Afghans that killing civilians contradicted Islamic values.

“We’re thinking to basically raise awareness and teach Afghans the real Islam, something that my father had always encouraged the youth to do,” she said, sitting next to her brother, Shuja, in their family’s villa in an affluent neighborhood in the UAE emirate Sharjah.

Read the full story by Mahmoud Habboush here.

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