Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo de Davao

Hear our voices. Hear our stand.

EVERY TIME there is a terrorist attack in any major cities or towns in the world, people would ask, “Where are the Muslim voices in condemnation?” “Why don’t we hear their voices against Isis, Al Qaeda, and all these terror groups?”

Similar observation was raised by Hesham Hassaballa in his article on-line entitled, “Think Muslims haven’t condemned Isis? Think again”. He started by saying, “A very common, oft-repeated mantra among pundits and “experts” is that Muslims haven’t roundly condemned the extremism committed in Islam’s name”. Muslims around the world are condemning all acts of terror and forms of violent extremism. But do people actually hear us?

The challenge is, often times, most non Muslims either don’t know or choose not to hear our voices.

A website in the US, Media Matters For America, documented some of the condemnation of Isis by Muslim groups all across the world: The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation: The Islamic State Has “Nothing To Do With Islam,” Has Committed Crimes “That Cannot Be Tolerated.”

As the Vatican’s internal news source reported, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries around the world, condemned the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, saying the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” is a “crime that cannot be tolerated.

[Vatican Radio, 7/25/14] Al-Azhar: Islamic State Is Corrupt And “A Danger To Islam.” Lebanese paper The Daily Star reported that Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti ShawqiAllam, Egypt’s highest religious authority, denounced the Islamic State as a threat to Islam and said that the group both violates Sharia law and humanitarian law: “[They] give an opportunity for those who seek to harm us, to destroy us and interfere in our affairs with the [pretext of a] call to fight terrorism.”

[The Daily Star, 8/13/14] Arab League: “Strongly Denounced” The “Crimes Against Humanity” Carried Out By The Islamic State. On August 11, Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League Chief, denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as “crimes against humanity,” demanding that they be brought to justice. According to Al Arabiya News, he said in a statement that he “strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq that have affected Christians in Mosul and Yazidis.”

[Al Arabiya News, 8/11/14] Turkey’s Top Cleric: Islamic State’s Threats Are “Hugely Damaging,” “Truly Awful.” Turkey’s highest ranking cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the Islamic State’s declaration of a “caliphate” and argued that the statements were damaging to the Muslim community, according to Reuters.

[Reuters, 7/22/14] CAIR Repeatedly Condemned The Islamic State As “Un-Islamic And Morally Repugnant.” In a July 7 statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called the terrorist group “un-Islamic and morally repugnant,” noted that the Islamic State’s “human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented,” and called on other Muslim community leaders to speak out against the violence. CAIR once again condemned the group, calling the killing of American journalist James Foley “gruesome and barbaric”.

[Council on American-Islamic Relations, 7/7/14; Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/20/14] The Muslim Council Of Great Britain: “Violence Has No Place In Religion.” The Muslim Council of Great Britain condemned the Islamic State’s actions and expressed that they do not represent Sunni Muslims, according to The Independent. Shuja Shafi, a member of the council also said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion. It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

[The Independent, 7/11/14] 100 Sunni And Shiite U.K. Imams: The Islamic State Is An “Illegitimate, Vicious Group.” As the Huffington Post reported, 100 Sunni and Shiite Imams from the U.K. came together to produce a video denouncing the Islamic State, releasing a statement that they wanted to “come together to emphasize the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.”

Saudi Arabia’s Highest Religious Authority: Terrorists Like The Islamic State Is The “Number One Enemy Of Islam.” On August 19, Al Jazeera reported that Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the country’s top religious authority, said that terrorism is anti-Islamic and said that groups like the Islamic State which practice violence are the “number one enemy of Islam”.

[Al Jazeera, 8/19/14] Muslim Public Affairs Council: Condemned The Islamic State And Called For “Stand Against Extremism.” On August 20, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a statement condemning “the barbaric execution of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).” MPAC urged “all people of conscience to take a stand against extremism” and offered condolences to Foley’s family. MPAC also noted the importance of countering ISIS and other extremist groups by working “to empower the mainstream and relegate extremists to the irrelevance they deserve.”

[Muslim Public Affairs Council, 8/20/14] In the past years, I always reacted and issue statements against ISIS and all similar terror groups. But I realized my reaction is never enough. We need to have a proactive approach. We need to have a dialogue deeply rooted in Islamic theology that recognizes the current realities Non Muslim intellectuals’ worldview to bring the balance of perspectives. We Muslims must always condemn any form of terrorism and acts of violence perpetuated in the name of Islam.

We must also be active citizens and proactive individuals in our own countries. We must be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.

We have to be self-critical of our own practices and beliefs of Islam. We need to have the strong capacity to promote social justice and the protection of the integrity of every individual. We must understand and make other people understand that ISIS and any terror groups are not just un-Islamic but also anti Islam.