July 28 - A group of U.S. Muslim legal scholars issued a fatwa, or religiousedict, Thursday condemning violence and terrorism on the basis ofIslamic law.

In the wake of the July terrorist bombing attacks on London, the FiqhCouncil of North America, an 18-member group of Muslim legal scholars,issued the edict as an interpretation of Islamic law for the nation's Muslimcommunity, which some estimate to number as many as 6 million.

"All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) inIslam," the fatwa said.

Further, it said, "It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with anyindividual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence."

The edict went on to say that "it is the civic and religious duty ofMuslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the livesof all civilians."

The fatwa was read at a Washington press conference, and has beenendorsed by 120 Muslim organizations across America, including the Councilon American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"United, we can confront the terrorists and frustrate their goal ofsparking an apocalyptic war between faiths and civilizations," said CAIR'sexecutive director, Nihad Awad.

Since the attacks on London, two groups of British scholars have issuedfatwas condemning the attacks and terrorist tactics. While one fatwacategorically disallowed all suicide bombings, the other allowed for suicideattacks in some instances, such as when a country is occupied by a foreignforce.

The American fatwa did not specifically mention suicide bombings in thecontext of war, but it did say that those who attack innocent civilians "arecriminals, not `martyrs."'