Last Wednesday, April 24, an obscure deputy in the Iranian parliament went to the podium at 10:45 in the morning to read a prepared statement.
Few in that hall could have known what was coming: a fatwa issued by one of the country's most prestigious and revered religious leaders, the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. His message was directed far beyond the boundaries of Iran, to all members of the Shia faith. It was a powerful and politically important message: Suicide terrorism is antithetical to the teachings of Islam, and those who practice it, and kill women, children, and babies, are doomed to eternity in hell. The struggle between the Palestinian people and Israel must be resolved by other means, above all by negotiations. A tumult broke out when the import of the statement became clear, but the parliamentary president permitted the deputy to read the fatwa in its entirety.
The proceedings were broadcast live throughout Iran. Therefore, although no Iranian publication and, to my knowledge, no foreign-news service reported the event, the Iranian people were able to hear it in real time.
The Secretary-General stated that those acts are diametrically opposed to the religion and teachings of Islam, which proscribe the unjust taking of a human life and stress the sanctity of human life. Moreover, those acts are in clear contradiction with innumerable resolutions adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference which condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and are also in contradiction with the Code of Conduct on Combating International Terrorism and the OIC 1998 Convention on Combating Terrorism, which makes it crystal clear that Islam repudiates and denounces terrorism and exhorts the Member States to "refrain from assisting or supporting terrorists in any way, shape or form, including the harboring of terrorists and granting them financial help or other forms of assistance."
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia -- "It is obligatory upon the Scholars of the Muslim Ummah that they explain the truth concerning the likes of these affairs (i.e. terrorist attacks) and that they make clear to the world at large that the Shari'ah of Allaah and the religion of Islam does not sanction these types of actions, ever."
"When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan," think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators." -- "We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this."
...or are there peaceful muslim nations?
2.9 - Establish stronger relations of friendship between Arab countries and other countries of the world, and work out a new approach of cooperation and solidarity-based partnership with other countries, out of the keenness to consecrate dialogue between religions and cultures and highlight the civilisational and humanist mission of Islam which calls for the dissemination of the values of tolerance, understanding and peaceful co-existence between peoples and nations and rejects hatred and discrimination.
2.10 - Reaffirm the commitment of Arab States to carry on their contribution as part of the international efforts to fight all forms of terrorism, avoid confusing Islam with terrorism and differentiate between legitimate resistance and terrorism.
2.11 - Call for the holding of an international conference under the aegis of the United Nations for the setting up of an international code of ethics for the fight against terrorism while working to tackle the root causes of this phenomenon.
A tumult broke out when the import of the statement became clear
no Iranian publication and, to my knowledge, no foreign-news service reported the event
1. That these matters that have taken place in the United States and whatever else is of their nature of plane hijackings and taking people hostage or killing innocent people, without a just cause, this is nothing but a manifestation of injustice, oppression and tyranny, which the Islamic Shari'ah does not sanction or accept, rather it is expressly forbidden and it is amongst the greatest of sins.
2. That the Muslim who learns the details of his religion, and who acts upon the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) does not allow himself to fall into the likes of these actions, due to what they contain of exposing oneself to the wrath of Allaah, and then what results from them of harms and corruption (upon the earth).
3. It is obligatory upon the Scholars of the Muslim Ummah that they explain the truth concerning the likes of these affairs (i.e. terrorist attacks) and that they make clear to the world at large that the Shari'ah of Allaah and the religion of Islam does not sanction these types of actions, ever.
4. It is upon the media outlets and whoever is behind them, from amongst those who make accusations against the Muslims and who strive to revile this noble and upright religion, and describe it with that which it is free from, all in order to kindle tribulation and to harm the reputation of Islam and the Muslims and to separate the hearts and constrict the chests - it is obligatory upon them to restrain from this misguidance and to realize that every sane and just person knows of the details of Islam, and knows that it is not possible for him to describe it with these descriptions, and that he cannot make these types of accusations against it, this is because on account of the passing of history, the nations have not known the followers of this religion, and its adherents except to be those who fulfill their rights (due to others) and their absence of injustice and oppression.
And what has preceded is in explanation of the truth and to remove any confusion, and I ask Allaah that he inspires us with that which contains our guidance, that he guides us to the ways of Islam, and that He strengthens His religion and makes high His word, indeed He is the Most Kind, the Most Generous, and prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and all his companions.
The Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
President of the Committee of Major Scholars and the Centre for Knowledge Based Research and Verdicts
'Abdul-Azeez bin Abdullaa bin Muhammad Aal ash-Shaikh
"Over the last few weeks, Americans of all faiths have been horrified by images of violence in the Middle East. The Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal does not represent America or Christianity. The Israeli missile that killed innocent Palestinian children in Gaza does not represent Judaism. And the beheading of an innocent American man, Nicholas Berg, does not represent Islam.
"Islam, Christianity and Judaism share the basic values necessary to create a world in which tolerance and peace prevail. We have an opportunity to build bridges between our faiths and to challenge those who attempt to divide humanity along religious and ethnic lines.
"American Muslims condemn all acts of terrorism and are as outraged as their fellow Americans by atrocities committed in the name of God and their faith. Two weeks ago, we invited Muslims in America and all over the world to support our stance against terrorism by signing the 'Not in the Name of Islam' online petition posted on our web site: www.cair-net.org. So far, individuals and organizations representing more than 500,000 Muslims are signatories to this petition.
"We now call on our fellow Americans of all faiths to join us in opposing those who promote hatred, violence and bigotry. Let us all say 'not in our name.'"
Mahathir delivered his diatribe at an Islamic summit meeting on Oct. 16. His theme was the anti-Semite's timeless plaint: The Jews are few but crafty, and the world is in their grip.
"The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," Mahathir told the leaders of 57 Muslim nations. "They get others to fight and die for them." He lamented that Jews are an enemy "who think. They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented . . . socialism, communism, human rights, and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong -- so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries."
And how should the world's Muslims deal with the Jews? Mahathir urged them to learn from Mohammed's example -- to buy time by making "strategic retreats" and signing peace accords, then building up their strength until they are ready to launch a "counterattack" that will lead to "final victory."
Mahathir's Judeophobia is an old story. More than 30 years ago he wrote: "The Jews . . . are not merely hook-nosed but understand money instinctively." He has blasted Jews as "monsters"; in 1994 his government banned the movie "Schindler's List" for being too pro-Jewish. When the Malaysian currency collapsed in 1997, Mahathir blamed it on George Soros, an American investor. "We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews," he thundered at a rally, "but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge -- and coincidentally Soros is a Jew."
The Bush administration tried to cast Mahathir's latest screed as simply the invective of a lone bigot. "The comments were hateful," Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told reporters, adding "I do not think they are emblematic of the Muslim world."
Would that were true. Unfortunately, while many in the West voiced outrage at Mahathir's poisonous remarks, the Muslim world's official reaction ranged from utter indifference to hearty approval.
The audience to whom Mahathir spoke -- the presidents, kings, and emirs of the nations that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- rewarded him with a standing ovation. The applauders included not only the Muslim world's dictatorial fanatics but also its reputed moderates, including President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, and Jordan's King Abdullah.
Even America's Muslim allies and clients admired Mahathir's views. The foreign minister of Egypt -- a country that receives $2 billion a year in US aid -- pronounced the speech "a very, very wise assessment." Hamid Karzai, the US-installed president of Afghanistan, praised it as "an eye-opener to a lot of us and . . . what the Islamic world should do."
Mahathir's speech raised no storm of controversy among most Muslims because the Muslim world by and large has no problem with anti-Semitism. Even in the United States there was little shocked repudiation of Mahathir's venom by American Muslim leaders. A Nexis search turns up just one mild quibble: When CNN invited the head of CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, to comment, he said only that he doesn't believe Jews run the world, "so I see that statement as a misguided opinion."
On Tuesday I asked six American Muslim organizations -- CAIR, the American Muslim Association, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Institute, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council -- whether they had any reaction to Mahathir's words. Three never replied; two replied by saying they had no comment. Only MPAC condemned Mahathir for his "extremely offensive, anti-Semitic comments."
The Muslim world suffers from many problems, but none is more crippling than its culture of intolerance. Rampant anti-semitism anywhere is always a sign of grave moral sickness. Until more Muslims are prepared to confront and conquer that sickness in their midst, the Muslim world will remain the benighted backwater that so many Muslims deplore.
(from the Boston Globe; Jeff Jacoby)
In Iran, which is predominantly Muslim, while other religeons do exist, they are forced to follow Islamic law. There are many people of other religeons brutally murdered every year. It doesn't get a lot of press (none at all).
Incidently, Iran does live in peace with its neighbors. They did have a problem with Saddam's Iraq (as did we) but we fixed that for them very nicely.
They did have a problem with Saddam's Iraq (as did we) but we fixed that for them very nicely.
As I read the posts, the argument by some is that - Islam can be a peaceful religion and that there are many peaceful Muslims.
However, where are the peaceful Muslim people or even nations (the Arab emirates) that are willing to condemn; reform; insist; speak out; etcetera, against those non-peaceful Muslims that have hijacked their religion?
I read a lot more than the "western press," including Al-jazeera; news from Jordan, Syria, Palestine, the Gulf, Pakistan, Lebanon and Indonesia. I also read Memri.org.
And I do not see any great hue and cry from moderate Muslims.
I agree with your point Chain, however, it would be fair to note that Egypt and Turkey (and Bolivia is also definitely not on same level with Saudi Arabia or Israel) shouldn't be on that list anymore. They certainly have more problems then Sweden, but then again, almost all world have more problems then Sweden when it comes to democracy and human rights.