The leader of a global Muslim movement has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that he calls an absolute condemnation of terrorism.
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former Pakistani lawmaker, says the 600-page fatwa bans suicide bombing "without any excuses, any pretexts, or exceptions."
"They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim nation," Qadri told a press conference in London. "“No, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are heading towards hellfire.”
Qadri also slammed Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, referring to it as an "old evil with a new name" and saying it has not be challenged adequately thus far.
"There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad," he said.
Tahir-ul-Qadri has issued similar, shorter decrees, but Tuesday's event in London was publicized by the Quilliam Foundation, a government-funded anti-extremism think tank and drew strong media attention.
The religious scholar is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran, a worldwide movement that promotes a nonpolitical, tolerant Islam. The group has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, most of them in Pakistan or Pakistanis living in other countries.
Associated Press, AFP and Reuters contributed to the report