Islam prohibits all forms of extremism and radicalization. Terrorist acts are criminal. Muslim community leaders throughout Canada work closely with law enforcement agencies in efforts to ensure the safety of all people and that Muslim communities are free from extremism.
Muslim scholars and spokespersons regularly release statements to the public and to the media. The following are just a few of hundreds, perhaps thousands of such denunciations that have been made over the years.
Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind - Quran 5:32
“As Muslims, we condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Ours is a religion of peace. We are sick and tired of extremists dictating the public face of Islam.” – Muslims Against Terrorism, a U.S.-based organization
Sanctity of Human Life
"We believe in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building, and cooperation among all faiths and people for the common good of humanity. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality. The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws. Islamic rulings do not – and should not – contradict natural laws. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for all human beings." - excerpt Canadian Council of Imams Declaration
“All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment.” – Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Qatar; Tariq Bishri, Egypt; Muhammad S. Awwa, Egypt; Fahmi Huwaydi, Egypt; Haytham Khayyat, Syria; Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, U.S.
Peace, Mercy and Protection of the Innocent
“You must know Islam’s firm position against all these terrible crimes. The world must know that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy and goodness; it is a religion of justice and guidance…Islam has forbidden violence in all its forms. It forbids the hijacking airplanes, ships and other means of transport, and it forbids all acts that undermine the security of the innocent.” – Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia
“The September 11 terrorist blasts in America can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.” – President Muhammad Khatami of Iran
Barbarism Perpetrated by a Few
“The sudden barbaric attack on innocent citizens living in peace is extremely distressing and deplorable. Every gentle human heart goes out to the victims of this attack and as humans we are ashamed at the barbarism perpetrated by a few people. Islam, which is a religion of peace and tolerance, condemns this act and sees this is as a wounding scar on the face of humanity.” – Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, Pakistani-American Muslim leader
It cannot be stated often enough – acts of terrorism are condemned by Muslims. Islam is a peaceful religion that has, unfortunately, been perverted by agencies of mayhem and destruction. The foregoing quotes exemplify the feelings of true Muslims both in Canada, and worldwide.
During the era of European colonization, the military and economic conquest of the Muslim world was accompanied by an intellectual movement that sought to insidiously depict Islam and Muslims as dangerous, misguided, and evil. This depiction was delivered under the guise of scholarly analysis and was used to justify European conquest in Asia and the Arab World. This movement and its subsequent body of literature is referred to as orientalism.
While we are hundreds of years past this era, many still perpetuate the view that there is an underlying incongruity between "Western" and "Islamic" world views. Today, Islamophobia is the term used when such views are taken to the extreme and the entire Muslim community is painted as dangerous, misguided and evil.
The media industry plays an important role in defining public opinion about Muslims. Even today a number of mainstream media outlets hold a strong negative bias. While in others there may still exist a tendency towards sensationalized stories with a similar effect of distorting public perceptions.
Muslims actively work with media organizations to make sure any such biases are removed.
It is especially hurtful to Muslims young and old when the purity of Islam is associated with the criminal acts of extremists. Most Muslims are the first to condemn extremist groups that use the religion to further their own political ends.
Muslims hope that the public is aware of media biases when it exists. As well educators must be aware that orientalist literature and teaching materials are still around and should be removed from curricula.
Fair minded people of all faith backgrounds and beliefs not only acknowledge orientalism and islamophobia as factually inaccurate, but shockingly racist. It follows the same trend as the racist and inaccurate literature written about Native Americans and African Americans in the early and mid 20th century.
The Final Word
How do Muslims feel about terrorism and the 9/11 attacks? We abhor both. We grieve, and we mourn. And it is our sincere hope that one day, there will be no extremists in any religion. Islam and all other religions will be practiced as they should be – with love, inclusion, and peace for all, everywhere.