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21 July 2005

American Muslims Condemn London Bombings

Islamic groups speak out against terrorism, condemn the taking of innocent life

By Brittany Sterrett
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Muslim organizations across the United States have condemned the terror attacks that hit London July 7 and July 21 with strong statements that violence runs counter to the tenets of Islam.

“To those who seek to divide us through fear or hatred, we will not allow the voices of hate to defeat the voices of unity and goodwill,” the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said in a statement after the July 7 London bombings.

ISNA, a nongovernmental organization that promotes Islamic civil rights in North America, has condemned terrorism and emphatically stated that such violence violates the principles of Islam.  Along with other prominent Muslim groups, ISNA is working to eliminate the perceived association of Islam with terrorism that exists in some parts of the world.

The organization’s statement said the attacks also “betrayed Islamic teachings that members of a community have a duty and obligation to protect, safeguard and uphold the laws of that community.”

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization affiliated with ISNA, said in a statement released July 7, “Islam holds the sanctity of human life at the highest regard, and shedding the blood of innocent people is considered a most heinous crime.”

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee issued a similar statement saying it was “horrified by the series of bombings that rocked London's public transportation” on July 7.  The committee encouraged all Americans to come together to support the British people.

Mohamed Sheibani, the president of the Muslim Students Association of the United States, said, the “bombings were not only attacks against the innocent people of London, but attacks against God’s divine revelations, which condemn indiscriminate violence and the targeting of innocents.”

Likewise, the Coalition of Islamic Organizations of Chicago, a group that organizes Muslims in the Chicago area through cultural and civil rights events, “unequivocally condemned the attacks” of July 7.  Council Chairman Abdul Malik Mujahid said, “These attacks are an affront to Islam and to Muslims all over the world including Muslims in America.  They are in no way a reflection of Islamic teachings, which order Muslims to preserve and protect life.”

Mujahid called for Muslims to pray for the victims of the attacks.

In a statement released immediately after the July 7 bombings, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), another group affiliated with ISNA, condemned “the exploitation of people and issues, regardless of the perpetrators and their justifications.” 

“This assault is unmistakably an act of terrorism, an attack against humanity,” the council said.

After the July 21 incidents, MPAC issued a statement that said, “As a representative of mainstream American Muslims, MPAC reminds the international community during this sensitive time that Islam does not tolerate the use of terrorism for any purpose, regardless of who the aggressors are and what their justifications might be.”

The council is working with other Muslim groups in the National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism. (Additional information is available on the organization’s Web site.) 

The campaign focuses on raising religious awareness “to create a strong Islamic environment that does not allow terrorism to be considered as a form of struggle in Islam,” according to the mission statement.  It also works to prevent intruders in mosques and teaches skills to detect and thwart possible terrorist activity.

Additionally, one of the largest Islamic civil rights groups in the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said its members “join Americans of all faiths, and all people of conscience worldwide, in condemning these barbaric crimes that can never be justified or excused,” according to a statement released July 7.  CAIR is also releasing a public service announcement called “Not in the Name of Islam,” which denounces the terrorist attacks in London and elsewhere.

Smaller, local Muslim organizations have also condemned the attacks.  The Islamic Center of North America, located in Michigan, said after the first attacks in July, “Islam considers the use of such brutality to be totally unacceptable.  No cause could ever be justified by such immoral acts …. We are all one humanity and we will continue to pray for safety and peace in America and throughout the world.” 

The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California spoke out on July 7, saying that it condemns “these horrific acts and all forms of terrorism that target innocent lives.”

Numerous other Muslim organizations have released statements similar to those quoted above, most of which highlight the peaceful nature of Islam and call for Muslims to unite in prayer for the victims of the “barbaric” attacks.  Full statements of condemnation can be found on the ISNA Web site.