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10/28/04 - MUSLIMS SPEAK AGAINST TERRORISM - 2004-11-01


Queen Noor of Jordan is urging Muslims to speak out against the "ranting" of extremists who use Islam to justify beheadings and suicide bombings against innocent civilians.

In a recent interview, Queen Noor denounced the twisting of Islam by extremists. "What I believe are the vast majority of moderate Muslim clerics. . . .do not at all subscribe to the distorted ranting of these militant extremist groups and abhor the form that their zealotry has taken in terms of beheadings and suicide bombings and the killings of innocents, because these are forbidden in Islam," said Queen Noor.

It is important, she said, for moderate Muslims "to draw together and empower one another" to speak out against Muslim extremist violence. As Queen Noor pointed out, "Extremist political movements [are] using the guise of religion to advance their political aims rather than aims consistent with the teachings of Islam. It has been very hard," she said, "for many in the Muslim world and the Muslim community and others to feel that they can speak up and speak out against these distortions. They felt very vulnerable and afraid that they might pay a heavy price for that."

Some Muslims are beginning to raise their voices in protest against the evil acts carried out in the name of Islam. Turkish commentator Kerim Balci wrote, "if a person, born Muslim or Muslim convert, commits terrorist acts somewhere, Muslims cannot remain apathetic. One who condones terrorism also cannot be a Muslim! One who applauds terrorism cannot be a Muslim, either!"

Other Muslim writers have also condemned terrorism. Abdel Rahman al-Rashed is general manager of the Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya. In a response to the terrorist attack on the school in Beslan, Russia, Mr. Rashed wrote in the London daily newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, that it was "shameful and degrading" that "the kidnappers of students in Ossetia are Muslims." He went on to say that, "the majority of those who carried out suicide operations against buses, schools, houses, and buildings around the world in the last ten years are also Muslims."

Mr. Rashed is correct in saying that Islam "has suffered an injustice" at the hands of those who preach violence. The best way to stop the misrepresentation of Islam is for moderate Muslims to denounce terrorism and the extremist groups who carry it out.

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