We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam - Violence and Terrorism - Why haven't Muslims denounced terrorism? - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

Violence and Terrorism >
Why haven't Muslims denounced terrorism?

A common charge, which has become conventional wisdom, is that Muslims did not condemn the attacks of 9/11 and still do not condemn terrorism. This belief has persisted despite the fact that Muslim scholars and organizations have promulgated extensive condemnations (including fatwas) of the 9/11 attacks and continue to condemn later acts of terrorism. Public statements have been issued in countries ranging from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia to the United States.

While extremists applauded the attacks, the vast majority of Muslims did not. As early as September 14, 2001, the BBC reported condemnations of the 9/11 attacks as acts of terrorism by a significant, influential, and diverse group of religious leaders. Heads of major Islamic movements from Egypt to Malaysia and more than forty Muslim scholars and politicians were equally strong in the following condemnation:

The undersigned, leaders of Islamic movements, are horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur′an: “No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” (Surah al-Isa 17:15).

Moreover, on September 27, 2001, the Fiqh Council of North America issued a joint fatwa clearly stating that every Muslim had a duty to work to apprehend and bring to justice anyone who planned, participated in, or financed such attacks. American Muslim leaders and internationally prominent Islamic scholars signed the fatwa.

On October 17, 2001, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty published a full-page ad in the New York Times, proclaiming, “Osama bin Laden hijacked four airplanes and a religion,” with statements by some of the world's most prominent Muslim leaders condemning the attacks. Among those who signed were Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh (Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the Senior Ulama), Zaki Badawi (principal of the Muslim College in London), King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Muslim leaders and organizations have continued to respond to every major terrorist attack. Thus, for example, after the terrorist attacks in London in 2005, in Glasgow in 2007, and in Mumbai in 2008, Muslim leaders and organizations around the world issued statements condemning the terrorists and their actions. More than five hundred British Muslim religious leaders and scholars issued a fatwa in response to the London bombings expressing condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery. This statement emphasized that Islam condemns violence and destruction of innocent lives and that suicide bombings are “vehemently prohibited.”

Joining the ongoing condemnations of terrorism by Muslim leaders is the 600-page fatwa issued in 2010 by internationally known telepreacher Muhammad Qadri. He condemns suicide bombers as unbelievers and declares, “Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts.” Qadri's fatwa has been seen as a powerful argument for taking Islam back from terrorists and weakening terrorist recruiting.

Mainstream Muslims across the world echo the sentiments of these leaders. The Gallup World Poll, the largest and most systematic poll of more than thirty-five Muslim countries worldwide, representing the voices of a billion Muslims, found that the vast majority of respondents (93 percent) concur with Muslim leaders who say the 9/11 attacks could not be justified. This is despite the fact that many in this group of respondents hold critical views of U.S. policy. (Forty percent are considered pro-U.S.; 60 percent view the United States' policies unfavorably.)

Why are most people unaware of all this information? Statements and positions of the mainstream Muslim majority are not headline news, and are often not even regarded as newsworthy at all. Preachers of peace or conflict resolution might, if lucky, get a little coverage buried somewhere in the back pages. Nowhere is the result of this lack of coverage more evident than in the persistent belief that Muslims have not spoken out against violence and terrorism. The media's failure to cover Muslims' public pronouncements and major statements condemning religious extremism and terrorism has allowed the question “Why don't more Muslims speak out?” to persist. The actions of a dangerous minority of Muslim extremists and terrorists have continued to be the dominant, distorted prism through which all mainstream Muslims and their religion are seen and understood.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice