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A Joint Muslim Statement on the Carnage in Orlando


06 14 16

 

 

June 13, 2016. On behalf of the American Muslim community, we, the undersigned, want to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the barbaric assault that occurred early yesterday morning at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

We unequivocally say that such an act of hate-fueled violence has no place in any faith, including Islam. As people of faith, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that each and every human life is inviolable.

We know that, given the tenor of the times, some will associate this tragedy with the religion of the perpetrator. While we may never learn conclusively what motivated this misguided individual, many news sources claim that he was motivated by his faith, which would be a reprehensible distortion of Islam adding the religion to the long list of innocent victims in this callous crime. Any such acts of violence violate every one of our Prophet’s teachings. For Muslims, that this carnage occurred in the blessed month of Ramadan—a month of charity, introspection, and self-purification—only adds to the foulness of this enormity.

Since September 11, 2001, many Muslims have been victims of collective guilt; yet, numerous Americans of good conscience have stood by their fellow citizens, despite differences in faith or lifestyle, including many members of the targeted community. Difference is no justification for violence. While most American Muslims adhere to a strict Abrahamic morality, the Quran is clear that its injunctions apply only to Muslims who choose to follow them: “There is absolutely no compulsion in religion.” In America, individuals are at liberty to pursue happiness as each sees fit; it is our cherished political right. Those of us who live in this country, irrespective of our beliefs, must respect the equality of all Americans under the laws of the land.

We feel compelled to state that it is an egregious offense against the culture and laws of America—as well as Islam’s—to place collective guilt on an entire community for the sins of individuals. “No soul bears the sins of another,” says the Quran.

Three days ago, Americans honored the memory of one of the greatest and most beloved men in American history: Muhammad Ali, who was a devout Muslim. The Islam Muhammad Ali followed is one of love, tolerance, and respect for all. American Muslims everywhere felt that he ended, once and for all, the vacuous claim that one cannot be both Muslim and American.

We, as American Muslims, follow the openhearted and inclusive Islam of Muhammad Ali and completely reject the hatred, provincialism, and intolerance of those who trample upon the rights of others, besmirching and defiling the name of Islam. The criminal who took the lives of dozens of patrons of the Orlando nightclub and injured many others was an aggressor, plain and simple. The Quran says, “Do not be brutal or commit aggression, for surely God does not love brutal aggressors.”

There are extremists in America and abroad who view the world through a Manichean lens: American Manicheans want Americans to see themselves as entirely “good” and all Muslims as entirely “evil.” Muslim Manicheans want Muslims to see themselves as entirely “good” and all Americans as entirely “evil.” This is a catastrophic recipe for unrelenting violence, and it must be rejected: We will not allow the extremists to define us, mold us in their benighted image, or sow the seeds of discord among us. We are one people, so let us all in good conscience and human solidarity reject this extremist narrative and assert our shared humanity and mutual respect for the sanctity of all human life.

Signed,

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah – President, Forum for Promoting Peace
Hamza Yusuf – President, Zaytuna College
Sherman A. Jackson – King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, USC
Siraj Wahhaj – President, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
Umar F. Abd-Allah – Resident Scholar, Chicago, IL
Mustafa Ceric – Grand Mufti Emeritus
Zaid Shakir – Co-Founder, Zaytuna College
Yasir Qadhi – Dean, AlMaghrib Institute | Assistant Professor, Rhodes College
Yusuf Islam – Philanthropist / Singer & Composer
Mohamed Magid – Executive Religious Director, All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS)
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali – Senior Faculty , Zaytuna College
Abdullah Hakim Quick – Resident Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto
Aisha al-Adawiya – Founder, Women in Islam Inc.
Muhammad Al-Ninowy – Founder & President, Al Madinah Institute
Tamara Gray – Founder, Rabata Inc
Naeem Baig – President, ICNA
Waleed Basyouni – VP, AlMaghrib Institute
Yaser Birjas – Imam, Valley Ranch Islamic Center
Omar Suleiman – Resident Scholar, Valley Ranch Islamic Center
Oussama Jamal – Secretary General, US Council of Muslim Organizations
Azhar Azeez – President, ISNA
Afifi al-Akiti – KFAS Fellow in Islamic Studies, Oxford University
Altaf Hussain – Vice President (US), ISNA / Associate Professor, Howard University
Mazen Mokhtar – Executive Director, The Muslim American Society (MAS)

For full list of signatories and to sign up as a signatory please visit: www.OrlandoStatement.com

 
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.

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  • KiwiNZ1

    Please tell me why is your statement necessary ?

    I presume to take you literally when you say “…some will associate this tragedy with the religion of the perpetrator.”

    If you agree that it is right and correct that I do take you literally
    in your text, how can you deny that the texts of the Koran and Hadiths
    contain hateful and murderous injunctions ?

    And how can you deny that these may motivate violence which would be literal and not in the least metaphorical ?

    I can help you by supplying an analysis.

    The US Constitution is also text, containing principles which many people live by.

    This text promotes an ideology of gun ownership, because
    the “right to bear arms” is written in a revered document. Even
    though that document is open to amendment, given enough agreement.

    Your text based ideology that specifies intolerance and death to
    gays, and is not open to amendment is the Islamic Koran.

    Both groups, Muslims and the NRA not cannot accept that it is the
    literal submission to a textual document which causes problems.

    The shooter may not have been a member of ISIS, but what was
    he motivated by ? Oh yes, a faithful adherence to elements of the Islamic
    religion as written.

    He has been told that all instructions and precepts are EQUALLY valid.
    There is no one part of the Koran which is more “perfect” than another.

    So why do you find it difficult to agree that violence is caused by to
    submission to violent text ? Who cares if he is cherrypicking ? As long
    as there are lines such as those discussed here

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/homosexuality.aspx

    someone will use them to do violence.

    I am not claiming that Islam turns all children into terrorists. But it
    obviously is much more likely to result in a violent act to believe
    oneself not only righteous but protected and about to be welcomed into a
    special place of eternal bliss than if one believes that life ends at death (which is the rational position).

    I have a solution, but it will require all of the signatories to do something which they will find most difficult.

    In order to protect your religion, you must destroy your religion.

    As a rational atheist I obviously think that there is no reason to
    accept any theistic claims. I know that people who have grown up in an
    environment of one particular religion find it difficult to escape these
    sometimes toxic religious beliefs.

    So if you are yourself unable to throw them off, please find a way to
    revise the Koran so that it does not have such an evil effect on human
    minds.

    Have someone have a vision or discover an older copy without the parts about killing and cursing etc.

    Or try this. If you agree that ” The Quran says, “Do not be brutal or
    commit aggression, for surely God does not love brutal aggressors.””

    Go through it and remove every part which contradicts this. Are you not obeying divine command when you do ?

    Good luck, I truly hope that one day I could come to Pakistan or Saudi
    and debate a cleric on the existence of god without threat to my life or
    liberty.