|Area Masajid and Organizations Issue Statements On Killing of US Ambassador, Film Protests|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by Contributing Writers|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2012 11:20|
In the wake of last week’s protests in Libya and elsewhere against the hate-filled film “Innocence of Muslims” and the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi which resulted in the deaths of several US diplomatic staff including Ambassador Christopher Steven, local masajid and American Muslim organizations once again found the need to publicly distance themselves from events happening across the world. Here are some of the statements from local Muslim groups issued to news media. -- The Muslim Link
Frederick County Muslim Council (FCMC) condemns attack in Libya and Egypt and call for restraint
We urge that this ignorant attempt to provoke the religious feelings of Muslims in the Arabic-speaking world be ignored and that its extremist producers not be given the cheap publicity they so desperately seek. Those who created this trashy film do not represent the people of America or the Christian faith.
"We condemn the attack on the American embassy and killing of the American Ambassador and three other diplomats, which had nothing to do with the production of this intentionally inflammatory film."
The freedom of speech was practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is the cornerstone of the US Constitution but this intentionally inflammatory film should not provoke Killing of innocent people. Allah says very clearly in Quran (Al-Maidah, 5:32) “He who kills for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind.” We urged the Muslims in Middle East and other parts of the world to show restraint and work towards establishing true essence of Islam.
Dr. Wasim Haque
ISB SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Assalam Alaikum (Peace be upon you).
We the American Muslims categorically condemn any acts of violence and hate speech against any people. According to the teachings of Quran and teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) killing of any innocent person is "as if one has killed all human kind."
We condemn the disgraceful attacks in Libya and Egypt; our heartfelt condolences are offered to the families of our Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the embassy staff who were killed in Libya. We agree with Secretary Clinton, who said, violence like this is in no way to honor the religion or faith. The extremists who carried out these attacks deserve punishment, and the extremists who produced and promoted an intentionally inflammatory film deserve condemnation.
We urge all the leaders to join with us to double the efforts in building bridges and prevent any means of provocation against anyone's faith, race or ethnicity. May God bless our Nation and guide us all to the path of righteousness.
Dr. Maqbool Patel
Islamic Society of Baltimore, Maryland
YACC Condemns Attack on U.S. Embassy in Yemen
September 13, 2012, New York - The Yemeni American Coalition for Change (YACC) strongly condemns the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, earlier today, after a clip from a bigoted anti-Muslim film by an American filmmaker went viral online.
The images that were coming out of Yemen today-of breaching the U.S embassy walls and smashing windows-were nothing but acts of violence. They were an unacceptable, un-Islamic way of expressing anger.
Free speech that is intentionally designed to attack or humiliate one’s religion, prophet, or belief with the intent and understanding that such speech will only provoke and encourage violence is no different than the violence committed itself.
Violence or extremism should have no place in the new Yemen, and we call on upon the people of Yemen, the youth peaceful movements, the political parties and religious groups to come out and strongly denounce in the strongest terms, and campaign against, any acts of violence.
While it is clear that the U.S. government had nothing to do with this video, we would like to remind the Obama administration to take a serious review of its policies toward Yemen, especially the drone campaign that has cost dozens of innocent and civilian lives and which only can play into the hands of and benefit extremism and terrorism.
YACC’s thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans who lost there lives in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday, as well as those who were injured in Yemen today.
The Yemeni American Coalition for Change (YACC) is an advocacy and solidarity group comprised of activists, professionals, students, teachers and concerned Yemeni-Americans, representing various Yemeni-American organizations, all uniting to support the youth peaceful revolution and change in Yemen and to see an end to violence against the protesters who demand freedom and an end to the vicious regime of Yemen’s ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Visit http://yaccny.org/
ISNA Statement on Profane Video of Prophet Muhammad -- Special Announcement
(Washington, DC - Sept 12, 2012) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is deeply disturbed to learn about an online video being circulated by anti-Muslim hate groups that depicts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a very profane manner. The making of this video presents an extremely false narrative of American society and of American values. It does not represent the views of the American public as a whole, nor does it represent Jews, Christians, or people of any other faith. We condemn the creation of such a hateful video, and we also call for an end to support for such mechanisms of hatred and bigotry. It is inexcusable to propagate such hateful media, and to lend a helping hand to those who would do this, knowing full well that it may incite some to violence.
ISNA continues to work with communities of all faiths to respond to bigotry and hatred against Muslims. When issues of anti-Muslim bigotry arise, many people of goodwill stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us to condemn them and to work for a better society for all people. Prominent Jewish and Christian leaders across America are among the first to support our community, with the perspective that to attack one religion is, in effect, to attack all religions. We work with them day in and day out, united in a common purpose of peace and mutual respect, and we know that the messages in this video stand in stark contrast with their moral and religious values. We are confident that they will continue to stand with us in condemnation of this video and in support of Muslim communities as we face the many challenges ahead. We urge all religious communities to publicly condemn this act and help make clear that we are united against hatred, regardless of circumstance.
As horrific and offensive as the video might be, nothing justifies the sort of violent acts we have heard reported in Egypt and Libya. Already four innocent people have lost their lives in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was a great friend and ally of the Libyan people. As we mourn the loss of these individuals, we call on Muslims across the world not to pay any attention to the voices of extremists such as the ones that created this video. These individuals do not represent our American government -- in fact, many of them crudely insult our President more regularly than they insult Muslims -- and they do not represent the vast majority of Americans. Our great country guarantees all of its citizens the right to freedom of speech, and unfortunately some use this simply to perpetrate bigotry and hatred. The words of these individuals are intended only to create tension and to solicit violent reactions from Muslims and people of other faiths around the world. It is critical that no one aid them in this task. As American Muslims, we can state with confidence that these individuals hold views which remain on the fringes of our society. The vast majority of Americans and American news outlets completely disregard them, and we urge all people around the world to do the same.
As ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid stated, "As Muslims, we love our Prophet (peace be upon him) dearly. In the Holy Qur'an, Allah (may He be glorified and exalted) has praised the Prophet (peace be upon him). No video could impact his status in our hearts."
ISNA Condemns Violence in Egypt and Libya and Mourns the Death of U.S. Ambassador Stevens and other Americans; Denounces the Creation of a Profane Video of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
(WASHINGTON, DC - September 12, 2012) Earlier today, the Islamic Society of North America held a press conference today to condemn the murder of U.S. diplomats in Libya and the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. ISNA President Imam Magid was joined by senior religious leaders and Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, who together mourned the loss of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. Imam Magid delivered this statement:
"The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) unequivocally condemns the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, and his staff and condemns the attack on US Embassy in Cairo. Reports indicate that those who killed him did so as a reaction to a video depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a profane manner. Although we believe that this video is hateful and bigoted, this could never be an excuse to commit any acts of violence whatsoever. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is loved and respected by hundreds of millions of people across the world, and no one take this from our hearts. No one should fall into the trap of those who wish to incite anger. The Prophet (peace be upon him) should be our example in everything we do, and even though he was attacked and insulted many times throughout his life, he always reacted with compassion and forgiveness, never with revenge or violence."
Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism added: "This loss of life in this manner is an affront to values of humanity and tolerance that are the core of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I also stand here today to condemn the video that apparently spurred these incidents. While we defend the right to free speech, even repugnant speech, these kinds of messages on the internet are so clearly crafted to provoke, to offend, to evoke outrage. The denigration of religion, the mocking of religious leaders, the intentional framing of religious texts and tenets in this manner must be repudiated by all religious leaders."
Rev. Dr. Welton C. Gaddy of Interfaith Alliance, spoke on a personal note: "I am embarrassed and ashamed that the Christian religion has been associated with an act as hateful as that of releasing a film intended to incite violence and even to cause the deaths of innocent people. It is a form of rhetorical hate crime. It has no place in our democracy or in Christianity. And for one person to endorse a film and to commend it to the world bearing the name of Christ, that causes this kind of loss and violence and division, is wrong. The Christian religion is about peace, just as Judaism, just as Islam. And I want to say for all of you to hear, that in the name of Christianity, I condemn the promotion of that kind of hatred and weep over the kind of deadly consequences it has provoked."
The Islamic Society of North America also issued a statement regarding its position on the video being circulated by anti-Muslim hate groups that depicts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a very profane manner.
ADAMS Condemns Violence in Libya & Egypt; Denounces the Creation of a Profane Video of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) condemns and rejects the recent violence in the Middle East, resulting in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Libya. These senseless acts reflect the continuing political turmoil since the Arab Spring, but in no way reflect true Islamic principles that forbid the killing of innocent people at any time. People of every faith must therefore separate politically motivated actions from those with a true religious basis, and preclude impulsive reactions to sensitive issues. ADAMS has consistently reiterated our Islamic belief that this type of violence is intolerable, and must cease.
ADAMS also calls on Muslims everywhere to show restraint and patience over a misguided and bizarre film depicting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Islam in a deeply offensive manner. No amount of insult upon Islam or any other faith can affect the strength of our belief in God Almighty, and we remind Muslims that during his lifetime, the Prophet (PBUH) endured exile, insults and threats to his life, yet never returned the hatred, choosing instead to remain patient and to pray for those who attacked him. The faith of Islam is no way weakened or damaged by freedom of expression, even if that speech helps promote an agenda of hate by a minority of misled individuals.
ADAMS therefore urges all global faith communities to come together in condemning the denigrating of any religion or its practitioners, in a true spirit of mutual respect and compassion. We must all strive to prevent insulting, blasphemous and factually unethical material about any religion from being disseminated in the name of freedom of expression. While we fully support our constitutional right to free expression, we must also encourage responsible and well informed media about Islam both in the USA and abroad.
For the past decade since the horrific acts of 9/11/2001, the ADAMS community has sought to let our friends and neighbors know that we unconditionally condemn terrorism and extremism, and particularly the vicious terrorist attacks of 9/11. We continue to pray for the defeat of any extremism and all terrorism, and for the safety and security of our United States and all its people, and of all inhabitants of the planet we have shared since time immemorial. ADAMS has been and will continue to be in the forefront of activities and programs designed to promote and expand interfaith harmony, cooperation, and respect, until those concepts prevail both here at home and all around the globe.
We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of Ambassador Stevens and the Embassy staff in Libya. We deeply regret that their names must be added to State Department's list of those who gave their lives in the service of America, but are determined to honor their sacrifice by continuing to strive to make this world a better and more understanding place for us all. Their loss reminds us of the vital work yet to be done to support democratic change in the Middle East region. We cannot allow the actions of a few misguided individuals to impede this work, but must help ensure the safety of our servicemen and women, diplomats and other representatives, at U.S. Missions around the globe.
Board Member & Interfaith/Government/Media Committee Co-Chair, All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS)
Statement by Dr. Esam Omeish On Behalf of Libyan Americans
As members of the Libyan American community, we are utterly shocked and saddened by the brutal killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and members of his staff in Libya. Our deepest and most heart-felt condolences go to the families and friends of the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his colleagues. We share with the American people and our administration the sadness of these tragic events and reaffirm our commitment and resolve to stand against violent extremism under any circumstance and in whatever context.
Many of us have known personally the late honorable Stevens and know him as a man of honor, dedication and commitment to the progress of Libya and the freedom of the Libyan people. I have had the honor to attend his inauguration at the State Department a few months ago with Secretary Clinton and Senator Lugar. I also have attended a private reception in Washington with his lovely family and parents and along with other colleagues worked with the late Ambassador to brief him on Libyan affairs prior to his dispatch to Tripoli. I just came from Libya and had a great meeting with the late Ambassador in Tripoli at the US embassy. He was proudly showing me the new Visa section in Tripoli to help more Libyans find opportunity in the US. We discussed the Libyan nascent democracy and I enjoyed his optimism and zeal to help the Libyan people attain their aspiration and build a robust Libyan American partnership.
This is a sad day for Libyan American friendship, but these colossal events will not detract us nor deter us from pursuing a brighter future of freedom, rule of law and respect of human dignity in Libya in partnership with our great ally in the United States and the Obama administration. We call upon the Libyan government and the political leadership to take firm and swift action to bring the savage perpetrators to justice and to affirm the will of the Libyan people to resolve the security threats and uncontrolled militias that are threatening the future of democracy and peace in Libya.
Dr Esam Omeish
Director, Libyan Emergency Task Force
Political Director, Libyan Council of North America
Vice Chair, American Libyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Member, Libyan American Community
Statement from the Peace Thru Justice Foundation
The Death of American Ambassadors -- Our Position
It has been narrated in al-Musnad of Ahmad b. Hanbal (and by a number of other respected authorities) that representatives of Musaylama the liar (a false claimant to prophet-hood) visited the last divinely sent Messenger of ALLAH (pbuh) and arrogantly confessed to their own apostasy - with what would seem to many, then and now, as a surprising result.
Abd Allah b. Mas’ud reported: I was in the presence of ALLAH’s Messenger (pbuh) when this man [Abd Allah b. Nuwaha] and another man came as official representatives of Musaylama the liar. The Messenger of ALLAH asked them, “Do you bear witness that I am the Messenger of ALLAH?” They replied: “We bear witness that Musaylama is the Messenger of ALLAH!” ALLAH’s [true] Messenger then said: “I believe in ALLAH and His Messengers; were I to execute ambassadors, I would have executed both of you!”
This sound hadith from the Sunnah of the Last Prophet (Mohammed ibn Abdullah, peace be upon him) reflects the Shariah (Islamic law) position on the immunity accorded to ambassadors – and, by extension, even to the embassies of hostile nations. It is also worth noting that this was the character of committed Muslims (who followed the example of the Prophet) many centuries before the evolution of what is today known as “international law.”
On the basis of Al-Islam’s clearly established position on such matters, we denounce the assault on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the tragic deaths of four U.S. diplomats. Our position on the matter does not stop there, however.
The deaths of Ambassadors J. Christopher Stevens, 52, Sean Smith, 34, and two other diplomats (who have yet to be identified), is being viewed by some well informed people as an example of the chickens coming home to roost. (Remember that phrase?) Ambassador Stevens (whose death has received the lion’s share of attention) has been described both as a gifted career diplomat and America’s man in Benghazi during the tumultuous removal of Muammar Qadhafi from power.
Stevens reportedly served in Israel, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and became the number two diplomat in Libya from 2007 to 2009. According to The Washington Post (“A Diplomat of charm, resolve,” by Anne Gearan, 9/13/12) he also became “the Obama administration’s envoy to the opposition” after the so-called “Arab Spring” reached Libya. (I don’t think there is any real need for this writer to go into some of the things that this assignment entailed.)
The fact is, the deaths of these American ambassadors – at the hands of “rebels” who were probably armed by the U.S. and/or its allies – was as much a consequence of America’s success in Libya, as the belligerents’ success in breaching the walls of the U.S. Embassy. And as sad as many Muslims in America genuinely feel for the loss of any innocent life, I can assure America’s policymakers, and their equally wrong-headed apologists, that any feeling of remorse for the demise of these diplomats pales in comparison to the pain and outrage felt (by many Muslim Americans) in response to the innocent Muslim lives being routinely destroyed by the unending wars on Muslim lands; the drone attacks and other targeted killings; the unjust open-ended imprisonments (both here and abroad), and the heart-wrenching familial disruptions that come in their wake!
People of sincere good will of all faiths long for the day when these cycles of destruction come to an end! Until then, the struggle continues…
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
Director of Operations
The Peace Thru Justice Foundation
“I tremble for my country when I reflect, God is Just; His justice cannot sleep forever.” -- Thomas Jefferson
Muslim leaders in Maryland condemn attacks, Say violent reaction to insulting film makes interfaith work more difficult
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun, September 12, 2012
Events such as the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt that left four Americans dead make Hasan Jalisi's work more difficult.
As president of the Maryland Muslim Council, the Baltimore County surgeon works with Christian, Jewish and other leaders to promote interfaith understanding.
But he says the attacks Tuesday on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the embassy in Cairo — apparently in response to the online trailer for a low-budget film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad — put the focus, once again, on the wrong people.
"On one side, when there are people who are insulting Islam or the prophet, it makes it easy for the small minority ... who on our side say 'Everyone hates Muslims,' " Jalisi said Wednesday. "They use this as an excuse of saying that America is against Muslims and the whole world is against us.
"And then on the flip side, when you react to it — for example, if we had reacted in Maryland against the burning of the Quran in Florida — it helps those people who are doing it. … If you react to these people who are just looking for airtime, you just make them more important than they really need to be."
Muslim leaders in Maryland joined their counterparts nationwide Wednesday in condemning the attacks. Killed in Benghazi were Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, who owned a home in Chevy Chase, and three others.
"We condemn the disgraceful killings of the American diplomats in Libya in the strongest terms possible," Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Wednesday in Washington. "We also condemn the attack on our nation's diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt. The actions of the attackers are totally inexcusable and un-Islamic."
"As American Muslims, there is no question that we categorically condemn any acts of violence and hate speech against anyone," said Maqbool Patel, president of the Islamic Society of Baltimore. "It is against the fundamental teaching of the religion of Islam."
Jalisi says Islamic tradition specifically opposes attacks on ambassadors. Although emissaries Muhammad sent to foreign nations were beheaded, he said, he refused to take revenge when those nations sent emissaries to him.
"When people are doing it, they are not doing it in the name of Islam," he said. "They may have other reasons. But Islam doesn't teach that. If you kill the ambassadors, how will you ever negotiate?"
The demonstrations in Benghazi and Cairo, where protesters scaled an embassy wall and replaced U.S. flags with black banners representing Islam, recalled similarly violent reactions in the Muslim world to the 2005 publication of cartoons of Muhammad by a Danish newspaper and the burning of Qurans this year on a NATO base in Afghanistan.
"But you will notice that in America, Muslims have a different way of dealing with things," Jalisi said. "None of the religious leaders issued any fatwas against this guy who was burning Qurans in Florida. Nobody came out in the streets, and we didn't shout at the top of our lungs.
"Our behavior — and it's the way educated people should behave — is people have a right to their own opinion."
So when Florida pastor Terry Jones threatened in 2010 to burn copies of the Quran, Jalisi said, the Maryland Muslim Council ignored him.
"It's not that I approve or condone the kind of propaganda against the Muslims or Islam which some people have made a business out of," he said. "But we took the position that, you know, let him do it. It's a very small church. If we respond to him, it gives him more airtime."
To his friends, he said, he suggested that they send Jones more copies of the Quran: "I mean, if he feels happy that way, let him do it.
"So that's where we were coming from, and that's what I think in this situation. If they thought it was a bad movie, make a good movie out of it. Burning or killing doesn't solve anything. It only affects the image of Islam."
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