Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism - A few Quotes L-Z

Sheila Musaji

Posted Dec 7, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism - A few Quotes L-Z

compiled by Sheila Musaji

This list became too long for one entry and was divided on 7/29/2007 - A-K may be found at

League of Arab States  “The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities. These terrorist crimes have been viewed by the League as inadmissible and deserving all condemnation. Divergence of views between the Arabs and the United States over the latter’s foreign policy on the Middle East crisis does in no way adversely affect the common Arab attitude of compassion with the people and government of the United States at such moments of facing the menace and ruthlessness of international terrorism. In more than one statement released since the horrendous attacks, the League has also expressed deep sympathy with the families of the victims. In remarks to newsmen immediately following the tragic events, Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa described the feelings of the Arab world as demonstrably sympathetic with the American people, particularly with families and individuals who lost their loved ones. “It is indeed tormenting that any country or people or city anywhere in the world be the scene of such disastrous attacks. While convinced that it is both inconceivable and lamentable that such a large-scale, organised terrorist campaign take place anywhere, anytime, the League believes that the dreadful attacks against WTC and the Pentagon unveil, time and again, that the cancer of terrorism can be extensively damaging if left unchecked. It follows that there is a pressing and urgent need to combat world terrorism. In this context, an earlier call by [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak for convening an international conference to draw up universal accord on ways and means to eradicate this phenomenon and demonstrate international solidarity is worthy of active consideration. The Arabs have walked a large distance in the fight against cross-border terrorism by concluding in April 1998 the Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism.” September 17, 2001,

Maqsood, Ruquaiyah Waris BRITAIN  It is high time that the followers of this anti-Muslim teaching are properly labelled for what they are. Their brand of Islam is not Islam. They do not have an identifying name at the moment - the word Fundamentalist is not accurate, neither is extremist. I would like to call their faith something like Islamiolatry. They are not Muslims but Islamiots or Zealotologists. Once a sectarian can be identified by a name, then people find it much easier to understand that these are at least deviants from the faith, and more usually enemies to the faith. ... When people choose to kill themselves and take out over five thousand miscellaneous persons with them, this is hardly what Islam defines as Jihad and these people are not martyrs - a jihad is a struggle for the will of God in which any attack on the weak, the child, the female, the aged, the animal or the plant is totally forbidden. A martyr is someone who has been put to death for what they believe.  It is not the rights of a Muslim minority that are under threat - but the rights of the Muslims, the majority, Islam itself, the millions of believers, that are being hijacked by these murderers who dare to call themselves Muslims.

Manzoor, Dr. S. Parvez, SWEDEN If these acts of terror indeed have been perpetrated by Muslim radicals or fundamentalists, they have reaped nothing but eternal damnation, shame and ignominy.  For nothing, absolutely nothing, could remotely be advanced as an excuse for these barbaric acts. They represent a total negation of Islamic values, an utter disregard of our fiqhi tradition, and a slap in the face of the Ummah. They are in total contrast to what Islamic reason, compassion and faith stand for. Even from the more mundane criteria of common good, the maslaha of the jurists, these acts are treasonous and suicidal. Islamic faith has been so callously and casually sacrificed at the altar of politics, a home-grown politics of parochial causes, primeval passions, self-endorsing piety and messianic terror.Interview with the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue, London,

Mattson, Ingrid, Ph.D.  U.S. These days, I find myself in the position of being asked to explain the motives of these unknown terrorists. I am a Professor of Islamic Studies, not a criminologist. I can explain Islamic law, ethical norms, and religious practices, I do not understand the way a terrorist thinks. The best I can do is describe how terrorism is treated in Islamic law and theology. 

Minai, Ali Ahmed U.S.  Those who lament the fact that Islam today wears the face of militancy in the eyes of the world should keep this in mind: When those who are moderate do not speak as loudly as the militants, the militants speak for them too. The only way to reclaim the enlightened aspect of Islam is to pursue it aggressively. Call it extremism in the pursuit of moderation. And that is no vice.

Mohammed, Dr. Mahathir, Prime Minister MALAYSIA   Salvation could not be achieved through the killing of innocent people.”

Muhammad, Imam W. D. U.S.  `Islam insists that the best human behavior be demonstrated even when engaging an enemy in war, Our Prophet Muhammed (prayers and peace be on him) ordered that civilians not be made the victims of war. He (the Prophet) cautioned the Muslims to take care not to attack those who were not bearing arms against them. Islam and the Prophet’s life require of us that we uphold justice and be a peace-seeking people.’ 

Mulkhan, Abdul Munir Indonesia - The word jihad does not signify “war” (qital) alone, but can also mean to strive mightily to defeat one’s own ego, so as to become humble and at peace with oneself, with God, and His varied creation. As many others have stated, the Prophet himself explicitly made this point, upon returning from the “lesser jihad” at the battle of Badr to the “greater jihad,” through which he exhorted his Muslim followers to overcome their egotistical nature and desires. Violence is generally born of egotism and arrogance, even when veiled in the sanctity of religious justification. The wave of suicide bombings we have witnessed in recent years is no exception. True jihad consists of opposing such violence, in the name of God and His religion. For only God Himself has any right or claim to absolute possession of the Truth.

Murad, Shaykh Abdul Hakim BRITAIN We must ask Allah to open the hearts of the Muslims everywhere to recognise that narrowmindedness and mutual anathema will lead us nowhere, and that only through spirituality, toleration and wisdom will we be granted success.The most appropriate du’a’ for our situation would seem to be: ‘Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum, bi-rahmatika astaghiith’, which is recommended in a hadith in cases of fear and misfortune. It means: ‘O Living, O Self-Subsistent; by Your mercy I seek help.’

Murad, Shaykh Abdul Hakim BRITAIN  Certainly, neither bin Laden nor his principal associate, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are graduates of Islamic universities or seminaries. And so their proclamations ignore 14 centuries of Muslim scholarship, and instead take the form of lists of anti-American grievances and of Koranic quotations referring to early Muslim wars against Arab idolators. These are followed by the conclusion that all Americans, civilian and military, are to be wiped off the face of the Earth.  All this amounts to an odd and extreme violation of the normal methods of Islamic scholarship. Had the authors of such fatwas [non-binding legal opinions] followed the norms of their religion, they would have had to acknowledge that no school of traditional Islam allows the targeting of civilians. An insurrectionist who kills non-combatants is guilty of baghy, “armed transgression”, a capital offence in Islamic law. A jihad can be proclaimed only by a properly constituted state; anything else is pure vigilantism.”

Musaji, Sheila, Editor The American Muslim U.S.  As an American-Muslim I feel moral repugnance towards terrorism and violence, and at the same time I feel concern and frustration for what is happening to Muslims (and others in the third world) daily. Because the legitimate grievances of some have been hijacked by criminals as a pretext for terrorism does not de-legitimize the concerns.  The issues still need to be addressed..  Much of the world suffers from oppression, occupation, tyranny and injustice.  We cannot stop terrorism without first working to end the injustice.

Musaji, Sheila Editor, The American Muslim Journal, U.S. Issued a STATEMENT ON THE TRAGEDY OF SEPTEMBER 11th which said in part: We are Americans and Muslims and proud to be both. We are as shocked and horrified by this insane act of terrorists as any other Americans. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We also want those responsible to be caught and brought to justice. They may happen to consider themselves Muslims (as Timothy McVey and Slobodon Milosovic may have considered themselves to be Christians) and may even have twisted the teachings of their religion to justify their actions, but terrorism is not the act of any person who understands anything about the teachings of any of the world’s religions. There is no religious justification for such actions. September 29, 2001

Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist group in EGYPT (on 9-11)  Said it was “horrified” by the attack and expressed “condolences and sadness”: “[We] strongly condemn such activities that are against all humanist and Islamic morals. ... [We] condemn and oppose all aggression on human life, freedom and dignity anywhere in the world.” Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 13 - 19 September 2001

Noor, Farish MALAYSIA But Islam, it must be remembered, also happens to be a faith that does not possess a clerical class or a supreme leader like the Pope. On the positive side this lends the creed an egalitarian outlook which puts all Muslims on par with each other. But on the negative side the absence of a centralised hierarchy also means that the Muslim world is full of self-proclaimed ‘leaders of the faith’ like the Taliban and their unwanted guest, Osama bin Laden.  It is this absence of a clerical order and the plasticity of religious discourse that allows concepts like ‘Jihad’ to be hijacked by such self-appointed defenders of orthodoxy. Coupled with this is the predicament of a Muslim world that feels itself increasingly threatened and marginalised by the forces of globalisation, leading to the defensive posture being adopted by many Muslim leaders themselves.

OIC - Organization of the Islamic Conference, Summit Conference.  “We are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms. ... Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance.”  Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon), December 9, 2001

OIC - Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.  “The Conference strongly condemned the brutal terror acts that befell the United States, caused huge losses in human lives from various nationalities and wreaked tremendous destruction and damage in New York and Washington. It further reaffirmed that these terror acts ran counter to the teachings of the divine religions as well as ethical and human values, stressed the necessity of tracking down the perpetrators of these acts in the light of the results of investigations and bringing them to justice to inflict on them the penalty they deserve, and underscored its support of this effort. In this respect, the Conference expressed its condolences to and sympathy with the people and government of the United States and the families of the victims in these mournful and tragic circumstances.”
Final Communique of the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, October 10, 2001

Philippine Muslim Leaders Condemn Terrorism, PHILLIPINES  Islamic religious authorities have declared terrorism “haram” (unlawful) in Monday’s simultaneous open congregational prayers to mark Eid’l Fitr in town centers of Muslim-dominated provinces and cities. Ustadz Abdulrauf Guialani, a member of the Assembly of Philippine Da’rul Ifta (APDI) or Houses of Opinion, declared senseless violence haram three times as he delivered the khutba.  Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, a senior member of the APDI, said a similar teaching was given in Eid’l Fitr open field prayers elsewhere in the country, particularly in the areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). September 23, 2006

Qadri, Tahirul head of the Awami Tehrik Party, PAKISTAN  ” Bombing embassies or destroying non-military installations like the World Trade Center is no jihad. ... “[T]hose who launched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks not only killed thousands of innocent people in the United States but also put the lives of millions of Muslims across the world at risk. ... Bin Laden is not a prophet that we should put thousands of lives at risk for.” United Press International, October 18, 2001

Ramadan, Tariq The situation is far too serious for one to be satisfied by simple explanations based on current frustrations. In the name of their faith and their conscience, Muslims must take a clear position so that a pernicious atmosphere does not take hold in the Western countries. Nothing in Islam can legitimize xenophobia or the rejection of a human being due to his/her religious creed or ethnicity. One must say unequivocally, with force, that anti-Semitism is unacceptable and indefensible. The message of Islam requires respect of Jewish faith and spirituality as noble expressions of “The People of the Book”.

Sachedina, Abdulaziz, Ph.D. U.S. I continued to search for the religious sources of terrorism, if there were any, available to the extremists in the scriptures or in the tradition ascribed to the Prophet. As I searched, I became aware that the term ‘jihad’, which is commonly used by these terrorists to legitimize their criminality, does not appear in the meaning of “holy war against the infidels” at all.  In fact, terrorism in any form does not qualify as anything more than a cowardly act and an expression of rejection of God’s blessing of life.  To be sure, the term `jihad’ in the lexicon of these murderers does not appear in more than a contrived meaning to cover up the horror of their satanic behavior

Saeed, Dr. Agha, National Chair of the American Muslim Alliance, U.S.   “These attacks are against both divine and human laws and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The Muslim Americans join the nation in calling for swift apprehension and stiff punishment of the perpetrators, and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.”

Sardar, Ziauddin MALAYSIA   Creating the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven, is the basic message of Islam. This is the true meaning of jihad. Now there’s a word. The very mention of the term sends shivers down ‘civilised’ spines and leads many, glibly, towards ‘holy war’. Surely, these paradise-seeking martyrs have declared jihad on America?  Acts of terror are not jihad. They violate the explicit word of God, Prophet Muhammad and the reasoned consensus of all believers. The greatest jihad is the war on injustice in one’s own soul, the injustice that can conceive of terror tactics and lose all restraints and respect for the sanctity of a human life. Jihad is the reasoned struggle of each individual to work within the bounds of moral action, to extend the protection of justice equitably to every human being, irrespective of colour, creed or place of origin. Jihad is the obligation to make peace a lived reality for all human beings.  ...  Islam cannot explain the actions of the suicide hijackers, just as Christianity cannot explain the gas chambers, Catholicism the bombing at Omagh. They are acts beyond belief, religious belief, by people who long ago abandoned the path of Islam.,4273,4258238,00.html

Schleifer, S. Abdallah EGYPT  That is why, in my opinion, the Amman Initiative called last spring [2005] by Jordan’s King Abdallah II was so important. The conference made manifest by the Amman Initiative was organized on the king’s behalf by the Aal al Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, an institute that embraces both the ulema in the most classical sense and contemporary Muslim intellectuals of various perspectives. Together, the ulema and the intellectuals signed off on a document that affirmed the mutual recognition of all classical schools of Islamic law, be they Sunni or Shi`ah, and condemned all attempts to takfir Muslims – a doctrine that allows one Muslim to classify another Muslim as an apostate worthy of being slaughtered. This is the doctrine that has been used in an attempt to justify terrorism, in Islamic terms, within Egypt since the mid-1970s and now is the basis for the almost daily mass murder of Shi`ahs in Iraq.  This declaration, which embraced fatwas by the sheikh al-Azhar, the mufti of Egypt, and the rector of al-Azhar University; Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Sistani and many other outstanding Shi`ah ulema in Iraq and Iran; muftis in Jordan, Oman, and other Sunni countries; as well as by an officer of the Fiqh Council of Saudi Arabia and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi,  struck at the very roots of theologically justified terrorism. By mutually recognizing all Sunni and Shi`ah schools of law and by insisting that only those scholars who have mastered the traditional legal disciplines within their respective schools have the authority to issue fatwas, the mainstream ulema and Muslim intellectuals who participated in Amman also explicitly declared that Islam is not a do-it-yourself store-front religion.

Shakir, Imam Zaid U.S.  This is a war being guided on both sides by self-righteous murderers whose motives and proclamations mirror each other. Each side sees God as being exclusively with them. That being the case, the restraint and judiciousness urged by Christian and Islamic theology to guide the execution of war is cast aside with wanton impunity. Each side manipulates a vulnerable public to create a climate that allows for the perpetuation and the inevitable escalation of the ongoing slaughter. Each side reserves the right to use the spectacle of indiscriminate violence to “Shock and Awe” the opposition, yet will deny that its tactics can be described as terrorism. Each side sees their civilian population as hapless, innocent victims, while the suffering innocent civilians on the other side are acceptable collateral damage.

Shakir, Imam Zaid U.S.  Islam has instituted fighting to defend life, honor, property, to restore usurped rights, and to protect the integrity of the religion and the community of the faithful. However, that fighting is governed by well-established laws and principles that articulate rules, regulations, and limitations that outline for Muslims when, where, how, and against whom it is permissible to fight. Those laws and principles have never sanctioned anarchist terrorism, wanton murder, tumult, and mayhem.

Sullivan, Dr. Antony T.  BRITAIN  My fundamental argument is that terrorism and Jihad are not identical twins but historic enemies.  I will maintain that a new vocabulary is essential to demonstrate the radical antipathy that has separated these concepts until very recent decades.  Terrorism is not only un-Islamic but anti-Islamic, and those who commit terrorism should be designated as criminals rather than as holy warriors or resistance fighters.  Moreover, this paper will suggest that a new focus by Muslims on the Holy Quran, at the expense of medieval fiqh, is now very much in order (I frequently suggest to Muslim fundamentalists that their only problem is that they are not fundamentalist enough).  In addition, an argument will be made that the meaning of Jihad must be reassessed through analysis of its linguistic roots, and reconceptualized to incorporate the phenomenon of culturally traditionalist and interreligious efforts designed to address some of the most difficult problems of modernity.  Indeed, ecumenical Jihad is today not an oxymoron, but a necessity.  If the perceived linkage between terrorism and Jihad can be ruptured, and Jihad reconceptualized as constituting a means by which all of the children of Abraham may strive to create a better world, the foundations for a brighter future will surely have been laid.  This paper will conclude with a discussion of one ecumenical effort already underway which seeks to join Muslims and Christians who are culturally traditionalist and truly religious in a common effort to oppose the radical secularism so characteristic of contemporary Western modernity.

Yahya, Harun (Adnan Oktar), author, TURKEY “ Islam does not encourage any kind of terrorism; in fact, it denounces it. Those who use terrorism in the name of Islam, in fact, have no other faculty except ignorance and hatred.”

Yilmaz, Mehmet Nuri Head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, TURKEY “ Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.” “A Message on Ragaib Night and Terrorism,” September 21, 2001

Yusuf, Shaikh Hamza - ” If you hate the West, emigrate to a Muslim country.”

Yusuf, Hamza, U.S. “Many people in the west do not realise how oppressive some Muslim states are - both for men and for women. This is a cultural issue, not an Islamic one. I would rather live as a Muslim in the west than in most of the Muslim countries, because I think the way Muslims are allowed to live in the west is closer to the Muslim way. A lot of Muslim immigrants feel the same way, which is why they are here.” ... “September 11 was a wake-up call to me, I don’t want to contribute to the hate in any shape or form. I now regret in the past being silent about what I have heard in the Islamic discourse and being part of that with my own anger.”

American Muslim Resources - collections of articles and references b6y topic