Muslims Speak Out

Painting entire populations with the same brush with which we paint rogue individuals is not a new phenomenon. For example, generations of Italian Americans were discriminated against, stereotyped, and shunned because of the activities of the few in the Mafia in the early part of the 20th Century. In the same way, Jewish Americans were often branded as communists because some of the leaders of the communist hierarchy in the Soviet Union were of Jewish ancestry.

As a result of a killing spree in lower Manhattan on Halloween by one Muslim man, mosques in the area where the terrorist lived have received threats, according to the N.Y. Post and the Council of American Islamic Relations; the Southern Poverty Law Center has also reported spikes in anti-Muslim acts and rhetoric.

Following are anti-terrorism statements by prominent and respected Muslim scholars and businessmen with whom the CIU has partnered and worked over the years, lead by a thought-provoking statement by Rabbi Jack Bemporad, CIU Director:

“It is unfortunate that not enough attention has been placed on the way extremist groups misinterpret sacred texts and try to enlist others to follow their viewpoint, especially through the internet. What is important for us to do is to carefully examine their arguments, and demonstrate how inaccurate, ideological, and political they are, but nonetheless entice so many to follow.

“We at the CIU are very fortunate in that we work with Muslim leaders who are not only great scholars of Islam, but also exemplary human beings who have led the way in clarifying and interpreting scriptural texts, demonstrating their true meaning, and working for the good of society and humanity.”

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Chairman, Fiqh Council of North America; Chairman, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California; Religious Director, The Islamic Society of Orange County, Garden Grove, California:

“We human beings are one family. The Qur’an says, ‘O people, revere your Lord, who created you from one single soul and from it created its mate, and from the two spread out abroad a multitude of men and women…” (4:1) God has honored all human beings (17:70). The life of every person should be protected. According to Islam, killing any innocent person of any race, religion or nationality is a major sin and crime. The Qur’an says, “… if anyone kills a person – unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land – it is as if he kills all mankind, while if any saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind… (5:32). Furthermore, it is blasphemous to kill innocent people by saying, ‘Allah akbar.’ The person who does that has profaned the glory of God.

“I join many other Muslim scholars and organization in condemning the terrorist attack committed on October 31, 2017 in Manhattan, New York, reportedly, by a supporter of ISIS. We are with our fellow Americans in our grief at the loss of eight lives and the injury of eleven people. The person who allegedly committed the crime and his supporters are criminals representing a sick ideology. Their actions are immoral and sinful and are contrary to the teachings of our faith, Islam. We pray for the defeat of all immoral and inhuman ideologies.

“I urge our fellow Americans not to ascribe these crimes to our faith and refrain from committing any hate crimes against the law abiding fellow American Muslims and their institutions. It is wrong to consider the whole group guilty because of the mistakes of few. We do not do that when the criminals are of other races and religions.

“May God help us to restore human values and bring peace and justice in the world. Ameen.”

S.A. Ibrahim, former CEO of Radian Group., serves on the boards of the CIU, Wharton Graduate School, and the Inter-Faith Youth Corp. of Chicago, as well as the Anti-Defamation League:

“It saddens my heart when innocent people are killed.  It angers me hugely when people are so consumed by hate or so seduced by evil that they succumb to such heinous acts. It offends me when such acts are committed under the name of religion — more so when my religion is distorted to justify such an act. I know we all  feel so helpless watching such things happen, but we must refuse to let them defeat us — never!!

Imam Mohamed Magid, leader of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, Sterling, VA, former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Chairman of the International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC):

“ADAMS unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack that occurred yesterday in Manhattan. We send our sympathy and prayers to the victims and their families. We are saddened by this tragedy and stand firm in our commitment to work with our interfaith, civic, public policy and law enforcement partners to stop and prevent violence in all of its forms….

“We must not let the actions of lone wolf criminals lead to the vilification of any group of people, demonization of any community, or to a cycle of additional conflict or violence. All such acts of violence must be stopped.

“As we have repeatedly said, no one can ever sanction the taking of innocent lives, which is expressly and repeatedly forbidden by the Holy Quran…The  Fatwa (religious ruling) against terrorism states:

“The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam’s absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism. Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs.”

Imam Muhamed Jusić, Media advisor to Ra’is-al-’ulama’ (Grand Mufti) Husein ef. Kavazović and spokesperson for the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

“Every time we hear of a gruesome terrorist attack carried out by someone who claims to be a Muslim we hear uncompromising condemnations from Muslim representatives. The same happened after the recent horrible attack in New York.

“But at the same time, there are those who think that this is not enough, that Muslims are not sincere in their condemnation and that they are doing that only because of political correctness. On the other hand, we hear those who say that only Muslims are expected to apologize for deeds of those who have nothing to do with them, but that reasoning does not apply to other violent extremists and traditions that they abuse

“I personally never paid attention to those claims. For me, it is not only a religious duty to stand in against the face of evil, but is human nature to empathize with innocent victims.

“That is why we should stop looking at issues of violent extremism from such perspectives altogether and should not be distracted by those who politicize and ideologize human suffering…

“The division that matters in my homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for that matter around the World, is not one between people of different religions, or between the religious and the non-religious; it is between those of us from all communities who know and claim that we can live together, and those who try to deny this.”

Suhail A. Khan is a member of the CIU Advisory Board and former senior appointee in the George W. Bush administration, where he served as liaison to the Muslim American community:

“The terror attack in Lower Manhattan is a heart-wrenching act of senseless murder. I join my fellow Americans, and all who cherish life and liberty, in grieving for the innocent lives lost at the hands of such heinous evil, and in praying for the injured, their families and loved ones. I also wish to express my deepest gratitude for the brave police officers and first responders who offered aid to the victims and apprehended the cowardly attacker. May the perpetrator be brought to justice. Together, I hope we will continue to strive towards peace, safety, greater respect and understanding among all people.”