U.S. Muslim scholars rebuke global terrorism

People who commit terrorism in the name of Islam are “criminals, not ‘martyrs,” according to a powerful religious edict, called a fatwa, issued Thursday by leading American scholars of Islamic law.

“I think it is the responsibility of the leaderships of mosques to be more connected to the congregations, to make communities safe on an individual basis, and to keep an eye out for people under stress and make sure they channel it in a nonviolent way,” said Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Chicago-based Council on Islamic Relations.

According to Daily Herald, on Friday in Chicago, Muslim leaders from throughout the city and suburbs will underscore that not only is violence against innocents forbidden, it’s the duty of Muslim leaders to dissuade, speak out against and even report to police anyone in their community they suspect of inciting violence or preparing to commit violence.

It was immediately hailed by several national Muslim organizations, including the Islamic Society of North America.

"The difference between this and all the pronouncements you've heard in the past is these are pretty much the leading scholars in North America," said Dr. Faroque Khan, a board member of the Islamic Society of North America and past president of the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury. "Individually, they have all expressed their condemnation, but this is the first time they have done it as a group."

Muslim leaders have frequently expressed frustration that that their repudiations of terrorism have been largely overlooked. Critics have said America's Muslims have not spoken out forcefully enough.

Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington said on Thursday, the unified stance was helpful.

"Ultimately, it is Muslims who are going to need to win the battle about the direction and the future of Islam," he said, reports Newsday.

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