A group of leading North American Muslim scholars have issued a religious edict condemning all acts of terrorism and religious extremism as being fundamentally un-Islamic.
The edict, called a Fatwa, was issued by the Fiqh Council of North America. These eighteen Muslim scholars are trained in Islamic philosophy and deemed qualified to interpret Islamic law. One-hundred-thirty Muslim organizations in the United States and Canada have endorsed the Fatwa. “Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives,” says the Fatwa. “Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not ‘martyrs.’”
The Muslim scholars based their ruling on several Koranic passages, including the verse, “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]. . . .it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” The Fatwa makes three declarations: first, all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are forbidden in Islam; second, it is forbidden for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in acts of terrorism or violence; and third, it is the civic and religious duty of all Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect civilian lives.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, on announcing the Fatwa, issued this statement:
“We often hear claims that Muslims don’t condemn terrorism, and Islam condones violence. As Muslims, we want to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are betraying the teaching of the Koran and the prophet Mohammed. We reject anyone of any faith who commits such brutal acts, and will not allow our faith to be hijacked by criminals. Islam is not about hatred and violence. It is about peace and justices.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says: “The struggle that is taking place within the Muslim religion is not going to be won by people outside that religion. It is going to be won by people inside that religion.” The Fatwa against terrorism issued by the North American Muslim scholars is a big step in the right direction.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.