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Jihad has been hijacked by terrorists, says Islamic scholar

Renowned Islamic scholar of Pakistani descent Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Mohammed Tahir-ul-Qadri today condemned all acts of terrorism and said the concept of Jihad has been hijacked by terrorists.

Author of the acclaimed book 'Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings', Dr Qadri, who is living in Canada for past few years because of threat to his life in Pakistan, said this while delivering his keynote address via a live video feed at the "People's SAARC Prayer for Peace", an interfaith roundtable conference to promote peace, solidarity and harmony in South Asia.

The interfaith prayer meeting and roundtable conference was jointly organised by the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, a not-for-profit public policy think tank, and an NGO Minhaj-ul-Quran International, India.

Religious leaders representing a cross-section of faiths, who participated in the roundtable, agreed to form an action- oriented Religious High Council to promote peace, solidarity and religious harmony in South Asia.

They also adopted a Joint Declaration to unite to frame a SAARC Charter for Interfaith Peace and Harmony.

The Joint Declaration seeks to make South Asia a region free of wars and militarism with zero tolerance to terrorism and all kinds of violence in the name of religion and create a mutual respect for different religions by maximising people- to-people contacts, promoting democracy and good governance, boosting economic cooperation with a view to remove poverty and unemployment and protecting the environment by promoting the vision of an 'egalitarian' society.

Explaining the true meaning of Islam as propounded by the Holy Quran as a religion of peace that professed respect towards all other religions, Qadri came down heavily on terrorists and all acts of terrorism and led all participants at the roundtable to observe silence as a mark of respect to all the victims and survivors of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.