As Muslims living in the West have been suffering severely because of the increasing attacks coming from many different sources.
As our alienation increases by many unwelcoming and exclusive voices and acts in our own communities.
As our sacred values and various identities get insulted and humiliated on a daily basis. Qur’an commends us to repeal evil with something better. These attacks against Islam and Muslims must not cause hate and anger towards ANY one. We must respond to these ugly attacks with the love and active perseverance that our beautiful religion teaches us. We should not allow similar attacks to happen to any individual or group and work even harder to get any kinds of hate poison out of our Muslim communities.
As our wounds bleed, it is even a more urgent/timely ethical duty for us to remember people and groups who have been going through similar if not worse mistreatment much longer than we do and have been suffering much worse than we do. It is a moral opportunity and obligation for us to invest on our empathy and our ability to fight all forms of hate and bigotry, even if it doesn’t involve Islam and Muslims.
I had the honor to be one of the 8 American Muslim leaders to visit horrific sites of Holocaust last summer. At the end of the trip, we unanimously came up with the following statement :
----------"O you who believe, stand up firmly for justice as witnesses to Almighty God." (Holy Qu'ran, al-Nisa "The Women" 4:135) On August 7-11, 2010, we the undersigned Muslim American faith and community leaders visited Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps where we witnessed firsthand the historical injustice of the Holocaust.
We met survivors who, several decades later, vividly and bravely shared their horrific experience of discrimination, suffering, and loss. We saw the many chilling places where men, women and children were systematically and brutally murdered by the millions because of their faith, race, disability and political affiliation.
In Islam, the destruction of one innocent life is like the destruction of the whole of humanity and the saving of one life is like the saving of the whole of humanity (Holy Qu'ran, al-Ma'idah"the Tablespread" 5:32). While entire communities perished by the many millions, we know that righteous Muslims from Bosnia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Albania saved many Jews from brutal repression, torture and senseless destruction.
We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews.
We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.
We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction.
We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity. With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth.
Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of "never again" and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.
- Imam Muzammil Siddiqi, Islamic Society of Orange County, CA and chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America
- Imam Mihamad Magid, All-Dulles-Area Muslim Society; President Elect, Islamic Society of North America, Washington, D.C.
- Imam Suhaib Webb, Muslim Community Association, Santa Clara, CA
- Ms. Laila Muhammad, daughter of the late Imam W.D. Muhammad of Chicago, IL
- Shaikh Yasir Qadhi, Dean of Academics for the Al Maghrib Institute, New Haven, CT
- Imam Syed Naqvi, Director of the Islamic Information Center in Washington, D.C.
- Imam Abdullah T. Antepli, Muslim Chaplain, Duke University
- Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Director, Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America
----------- I extend this pledge to all Muslims and invite all of you to sign. This should have been done long time ago. As God has given us an opportunity to learn clearly what does it like to be collectively vilified and attacked, let us not miss this learning and growth opportunity. Your brother in Islam, Abdullah Antepli
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