Why are Muslims not condemning terrorist acts?
Prominent Muslim scholars, organizations and movements, representing the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, have repeatedly condemned terrorism, and have spoken out for peace and justice. Following is a very brief list of such open condemnation of terrorism, including statements issued in the wake of the heinous attacks on September 11.
1. The American Muslim Political Co-ordination Committee (AMPCC), which is a group of major American Muslim organizations, including ICNA (our parent organization), issued a statement on September 11, 2001 condemning the terrorist attacks. The AMPCC statement read in part:
“American Muslims utterly condemn what are vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
2. Major American Muslim organizations including the Islamic Circle of North America, are signatories to the following statement released on September 21, 2001.
American Muslim Response to the September Attacks
Released September 21, 2001
We, the undersigned Muslim organizations, support the President and Congress of the U.S. in the struggle against terrorism. Holding to the ideals of both our religion and our country, we condemn all forms of terrorism, and confirm the need for perpetrators of any such acts of violence to be brought to justice, including those who carried out the attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
At the same time, in the planning of this “war against terrorism,” we call upon the President and Congress to reaffirm the values and principles that make this country great, namely that one is innocent until proven guilty, that all accused have the right to a fair trial, that no one be punished for the acts of another, and that respect for human life is supreme, regardless of race or religion. To this end, we urge the U.S. government not to abandon the due process of law in determining responsibility for the attacks and punishing the guilty parties.
We are saddened by the possibility of military action, as we do not believe that terrorism can be eliminated solely or even effectively through military force. Rather we call upon our leaders to recognize that in order to rid the world of the ugliness of terrorism, our nation must understand its root causes. We hold out the hope that these root causes can be addressed through non-violent means, in a way that promotes peace and harmony between the nations of the world.
Afghan Muslim Association (Fremont, CA)
American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice (AMGPJ)
American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA)
Arab-American Congress, Council on American-Islamic Relations (Northern California)
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Bay Area
Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Islamic Society of the EastBay (Union City, CA)
Islamic Society of San Francisco
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) West Zone
Muslim American Society
Muslim Community Association (MCA)
Muslim Peace Fellowship (Nyack, NY)
SouthBay Islamic Association (San Jose, CA)
Zaytuna Institute (Hayward, CA)
3. Prominent scholars worldwide have condemned terrorism as a heresy against Islam. The Grand Sheikh of Al-AzharUniversity, the oldest seat of Islamic learning, Sheikh Muhammed Sayyed Tantawi, has repeatedly condemned terrorism. He said in the name of Islamic law, he rejected and condemned the aggression against innocent civilian people, regardless of whatever side, sect or country the aggression came from.
Prominent scholars of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz and Shaykh Uthaimeen, also condemned the terrorist attacks. Every other major scholar of Islam, has come out against the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.
3. Statements of Prominent Islamic Scholars
“Hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood constitute a form of injustice that can not be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts”
Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh (Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulama, on September 15th, 2001)
“The terrorists acts, from the perspective of Islamic law, constitute the crime of hirabah (waging war against society)”
Sept. 27, 2001 fatwa, signed by: Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Grand Islamic Scholar and Chairman of the Sunna and Sira Countil, Qatar)
Judge Tariq al-Bishri, First Deputy President of the Council d’etat, Egypt
Dr. Muhammad s. al-Awa, Professor of Islamic Law and Shari’a, Egypt
Dr. Haytham al-Khayyat, Islamic scholar, Syria
Fahmi Houaydi, Islamic scholar, Syria
Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Chairman, North America High Council
“Neither the law of Islam nor its ethical system justify such a crime.”
Zaki Badawi, Principal of the MuslimCollege in London. Cited in Arab News, Sept. 28, 2001.
“It is wrong to kill innocent people. It is also wrong to praise those who kill innocent people.”
Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, Pakistan. Cited in NY Times, Sept. 28, 2001.
Ingrid Mattson, a professor of Islamic studies and Muslim-Christian relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, said there was no basis in Islamic law or sacred text for Mr. bin Laden’s remarks. “The basic theological distortion is that any means are permitted to achieve the end of protesting against perceived oppression.”
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, (now President of the Islamic Society of North America)
Muslims stand united in their condemnation of terrorist attacks and any attempt to link their faith to heinous acts that question the humanity of the perpetrators. The vast majority of Muslims worldwide find in Islam, a faith that preaches devotion and good character, not one that calls for hatred towards fellow humans.
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