By Mohammad Yacoob
Hawthorne, CA: I am grateful to India Tribune for publishing the opinion — Expose non-Muslims to a kinder and gentler side of Islam — by Jagjit Singh in India Tribune dated October 2. I am also thankful to Jagjit Singh, because he is right in expressing his views about the kinder and gentler side of Islam. We, the NRIs, are also outraged at the activities of the Muslim extremists, obtuse people and terrorists who are rationalizing their anti-humanity activities and terrorism.
We are against the “holier than thou” and “my way or highway” attitude of these misguided and irrational Muslims throughout the world, who think that they are the custodians of Jannat — heaven. We have been presenting the kinder and gentler Islamic values and condemning the activities of these terrorist Muslims, which do not represent our religion. In the United States of America, we have released the following condemnations and guidance rules for fighting terrorism:
“We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those, who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the value of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and disassociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual, who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.” — Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR 2002)
The extremists and manipulators in the USA are continuing to harass and discriminate against us. They start the rumor mills and propaganda against Muslims saying that Muslims do not condemn acts of terror. Mosques, Islamic centers and Muslim religious organizations always condemn these terrorist attacks both at the organization level and at the individual level. To validate the Islamic position by Muslim individuals and Muslim organization, the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) Council of North America issued a Fatwa in 2005.
“Fiqh Council issued a Fatwa to reaffirm Islam’s absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism. In the light of Qur’an and Sunnah it declared that (1). All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are Haram (forbidden) in Islam. (2). It is Haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence. (3). It is the civil and religious duty of a Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.”
We, the Muslims living in the US, have always raised our voices against wars, terrorism, oppression, and killings. We also condemned Mumbai massacre and terrorism in the strongest terms. We always condemned terrorism, yet the anti-Muslim forces and Islamophobia practitioners in the US continue to declare that we sympathize with terrorists. Many other groups accuse the Muslims that they do not condemn enough.
Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor of Muslim Public Affairs Council of America, wrote some time back, an article in Los Angeles Times about terrorism and the response of the US Muslims. An exact quote of what he wrote is not available at this time. However, in part, he wrote something close to this: “We always condemn terrorism, speak against terrorism, proclaim and shout that it is against Islam to engage in terrorist activities. We are shouting and you can’t hear it, because you are deaf.”
Many a time when we speak about Islam, people start blaming us for trying to convert others. This is a wrong assessment and an attitude problem. We have been commanded in the Qur’an that there is “No compulsion in religion.” We have no right to convert people, just to tell people about Islam. Dr. Ahmed Sakr, one of the top American Muslim leaders makes the following statement when he visits Churches and Synagogues to speak about Islam:
“We are not here to convert you, proselytize you, or baptize you, or preach you, or teach you, or debate you, or convince you. Therefore, why are we here? We are here to share our commonalities and to break the ice. Moreover we are here to build bridges of communications and understanding among ourselves. Ignorance is the source of trouble all over the world.”
In a statement released following Pakistani terrorist, the Times Square bomb plotter, Shahzad’s sentencing on October 5, 2010, CAIR issued a press release and said:
“We welcome the stiff punishment handed out to a person who seems to have no remorse for his planned attempt to kill and injure as many innocent people as possible. His stated desire for an unending interreligious conflict is utterly rejected by American Muslims. There is no justification or excuse in Islam for harming the innocent. Faisal Shahzad’s perverted views are contrary to our faith and its teachings.”
CAIR noted that an American Muslim was one of those who helped thwart Shahzad’s attempted bombing.