Posted Jan 9, 2010
by Sheila Musaji
The North American Muslim community leadership has been attempting for some time to raise awareness about extremism and the possibility of young people becoming radicalized. Because of the internet and other media radical elements are able to make connections with others across all national lines. Any idiot with a computer is able to connect with others all over the world. Over the past several years there has been a great deal of discussion within the Muslim community on the subject of how best to deal with extremism within the Muslim community, and recently there have been some very encouraging developments which encourage practical steps to counter radicalization - for example, CAIR’s announcement that they plan to set up a website specifically aimed at countering extremist interpretations of the Qur’an, MPAC’s Building Bridges document, ISNA’s statement Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism: Muslim Position and Responsibilities.
This week 20 North American Imams issued a Fatwa Against Terrorists. According to The National Post of Canada: “Syed Soharwardy, an imam at the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre, who organized the initiative, said yesterday that any attack by foreign elements should also be considered a direct affront to the 10 million Muslims who call either Canada or the United States home. “We want Muslims around the world who would dare to commit terrorism on our soil to know that we stand together with all Canadians and Americans. “We are asking Muslims here not only to condemn terrorism but to also see these events as attacks on themselves.”
Also, this week, on the day that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arraigned in court there was a rally of about 150 American Muslims and Arabs outside the court. The participants in the rally held signs saying “Not in the name of Islam”, “We are Americans,” and “Islam is Against Terrorism.” According to the Chicago Tribune the rally was organized by Majed Moughni who created a Facebook group called Dearborn Area Community Members to plan the rally.
Prior to the rally, a group of Imams from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan held a press conference condemning terrorism. You can see video of the rally here and photos of the rally here.
The American Muslim and Arab communities are attempting to whatever they can to make it clear that we reject violence and extremism as solutions to anything. I hope that there will be many more such efforts, just as there have previously been many other efforts. Here are a few of the notable efforts: - Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq put together a statement on Apostasy in Islam in 2007 which was signed by over 100 scholars and activists. - The Sunni Shia Dialogue petition organized by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid. - a Muslim Intrafaith Code of Honor was developed and publically signed by Sunni and Shia scholars at ISNA in 2007. - The ISNA Statement Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism in 2006 - CAIRs Not In the Name of Islam Petition which received 691,591 signatures in 2004. Fiqh Council of North America Fatwa against terrorism in 2005. You can find an extensive list of fatwas, articles, and statements against extremism and terrorism on The American Muslim site under the heading Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism.
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