Do Muslims Ever Condemn Terrorist Attacks?

Recently, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has an overall positive article urging others not to see Muslims as suspects after every terrorist attacks. He states:

"The West will do it in a rough, crude way -- by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent."

However, as usual with Friedman's articles, he has some valid points, mixed with some dubious claims or faulty conclusions. For example, he claims that Muslims do not denounce terrorism enough, and cleric are silent against it.

"The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden."

Friedman is not alone in this. many commentators, columnists, ideologues have spread the fallcy that Muslims do not denounce terrorism.

Condemnation of Terrorism in the name of Islam

Taking the recent London Bombings as an example, I will list here a few Muslim organizations in the West that have indeed condemned these terrorist acts.

We have them in Britian, and in Canada, the Canadian Islamic Congress, the CAIR CAN whose president also gave a Friday sermon on how Canadian Muslims Feel the Pain.

In the USA, organizations like CAIR have condemned the barbaric London bombings, met with UK Ambassador to offer condolences, and urged US Muslims to offer condolences. They also called on Imams to condemn terror on Friday sermons, and asked Muslims to write letters to the editor condemning the bombings.

You can also see what ordinary Muslims in Britian and elsewhere say about the bombings. In the same list you can also see that reactions from ordinary Britons is mostly rational and balanced, unlike the US reaction.

Back to CAIR. One must not forget that for they had a long running campaign called Not in the name of Islam , and on 14 July 2005 launched a TV Ad campaign.

Fatwas (religious rulings)

One may say that after reading the above they concede that Muslims condemn terrorism, but no religious rulings (fatwas) by scholars were issued against terrorists and terrorism.

Well, it turns out that this also is not true, as fatwas were indeed issued in the past and continue to be issued.

Fouad Khatib of CAIR published a commentary article in the Orange County Register with details on fatwas issued worldwide by various Muslim scholars. It says:

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman makes the claim, "[t]o this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden" ["What can we do to limit the fallout?" Commentary, July 10]. His claim is absurd.

On Oct. 13, 2001 Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., informed the House of Representatives that the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Tantawi, denounced bin Laden. Rep. Pitts was clear in characterizing Sheikh Tantawi as "the highest and most respected Islamic authority in the world."

Within days after 9/11, Talgat Tajuddin, the high mufti of Russian Muslims, called for the extradition of bin Laden from Afghanistan. The high mufti stressed that a man who advises to kill cannot be God's counselor, however much he may quote the Quran.

The North American Fiqh (jurisprudence) Council issued a formal fatwa on Sept. 27, 2001, that condemned bin Ladin's actions of 9/11 and sanctioned Muslim participation in the United States' military response in Afghanistan.

On April 3, 2002, an extraordinary session of the Organization of Islamic Conference foreign ministers in Kuala Lumpur adopted a stark resolution condemning the brutal terror attacks of Sept. 11. Although the OIC is not a religious body, it is an umbrella organization of 57 Islamic countries.

On March 12 of this year, Spain's leading Muslim clerics issued a religious order condemning bin Laden and declaring that he had violated Islam by backing attacks such as the Madrid train bombings. The order was issued after consultations with North African religious scholars in Morocco, Algeria and other countries.

More recently, the Muslim Council of Britian has issued a fatwa against suicide bombing and declaring it un-Islamic to kill oneself or kill others, not matter what the justifications are.

Canadian Imams and Canadian Muslim leaders issues a fatwa repudating violence and killing in any way. Here is a quote:

"Those who would use violence for their twisted acts betray the most basic value of the sanctity of human life. We have opposed, and will continue, to oppose all extremism, hate and terrorism.

"Any one who claims to be a Muslim and participates in any way in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam. We categorically and unequivocally reject such acts. We will confront and challenge the extremist mindset that produces this perversion of our faith.

"We remind Canadian Muslims that no injustice done to Muslims anywhere can ever justify the taking of innocent life. All life, whether here or abroad, is sacred: 'And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all humankind.'

Two influential scholars also answered such question:

Yusuf Qaradawi answered a question on whether Violence and Extremism are Islamic phenomona, and US based Muzammil Siddiqi on does the Quran teach violence?

In late July 2005, US and Canadian Muslim religious scholars, as represented in the Fiqh Council issued a fatwa against terrorism. This was covered by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Further Reading

For a more complete list of condemnations see this article at Muhajabah.

Conclusion

Juan Cole has listed various Muslim organizations that condemned the kidnapping and murder of Nick Berg in Iraq. Those include mainstream organizations such as Al Azhar of Egypt, and even some very conservative groups such as Hizbullah, and various Muslim groups in Iraq.

He concludes:

"We'll be hearing for years from the talking heads on US cable news about how the Muslim world failed to condemn what was done to Berg. It would be as though a set of high-ranking cardinals in the Vatican condemned something unreservedly and then people kept saying the Church remained silent."

Similarly, one columnist, Mark Woods, writes in an article titled: "Muslim leaders condemning terror to the deaf?". In it he concludes:

"So why don't we hear Muslim leaders condemning terrorism? Maybe we're not listening."

Well said.

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Comments

Untrue

The number of innocents injured and killed is relatively small. None were targeted and collateral casualties, though sad, are sometimes unavoidable in a war. If the cowardly individuals doing the fighting would wear uniforms and face the military head on then only they would die. Plus, the number of innocents injured and killed by coalition forces due to proximity to actual military targets pales in comparison to the number of their own people islamic extremist cowards have murdered.

acceptable collateral damage or terrorist aggression

Was dropping atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki collateral damage.? Most definitely not... it was a outragous response by terrorists who today rule the world narrative and claim to be righteous! Hypocrits!

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