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Muslim Leaders Confront Terrorism

Four years after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, Muslim leaders in the U.S. are unequivocally condemning terrorism and have launched campaigns to persuade Muslims to beware of preachers peddling terrorism.

The turning point, say U.S. Muslim leaders, was the terrorist bombings in London. Unlike the September 11th attacks that were carried out by foreign terrorists, the London bombings were carried out by Muslims born and raised in Britain. “Before, people thought, 'we have nothing to do with terrorism, and our religion is clear,’” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council based in Los Angeles. “Now, we can’t afford to be by-standers anymore. We are. . . .speaking out with one voice and telling our children that they. . . .can’t give any credence to anybody who comes to them and says there is room for violence.”

Sayyid Syeed is secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, an umbrella association for Muslim groups and mosques in the U.S. and Canada. He said that the London bombings were “a shocking realization that within the Western world there could be Muslim youth who could be indoctrinated, and in spite of their upbringing, their birth, and years of living in the West, that they could be vulnerable to this kind of thing.”

During its annual conventions, the Islamic Society of North America unveiled posters and pamphlets against terrorism for use in mosques and Islamic schools. The pamphlets state that terrorism “is the epitome of injustice because it targets innocent people.” Karen Hughes, the recently confirmed U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, attended the convention, which came a month after U.S. Muslim scholars issued a fatwa, or religious edict, condemning terrorism following the deadly London bombings.

“The fatwa says that there is no justification in Islam for terrorism. Those are words the entire world needs to hear,” Ms. Hughes said. “And in delivering that message," she said, "I know that the most credible voices are of Muslims themselves.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.