Muslim Americans Respond to Massacres in Pakistan and Kenya
September 24, 2013 – It is with sadness and revulsion that ING condemns the recent incidences of senseless murder and mayhem by people claiming to act in the name of Islam. The recent attacks on two churches in Pakistan, where over 70 Christians were murdered, and the still unfolding mall violence in Kenya that has claimed at least 60 lives are senseless acts of savagery that counter both Islamic teachings and code of conduct. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
No grievance, injustice, or cause can ever justify such heinous acts. As a member of a group of Somali imams in Minnesota who gathered at a mosque to condemn the Nairobi attack, Imam Amdisalam Adam said, “We call on Muslim youth to shun and reject to be lured into or recruited by extremist groups like al-Shabab. We, the Somali community leaders in Minnesota, hereby strongly condemn the heinous acts that took place at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.” See statement by Somali imams. Members of the Bay Area Somali community have also issued a statement.
Islamic normative teachings regard taking an innocent life as the greatest sin a Muslim can commit. Killing worshippers in a church or shoppers in a mall makes the crime of murder even more atrocious. Additionally, Islam teaches respect for and protection for minority religions, particularly those referred to as People of the Book, generally defined as Christians and Jews.
The Qur’an includes numerous verses that speak to respect for religious diversity as follows:
- “For each of them, We have established a law, and a revealed way. And if God wished, God would have made you a single nation; but the intent is to test you in what God has given you. So let your goals be everything good. Your destiny, everyone, is to God, Who will tell you about that wherein you differed.” (5:48)
- “And had thy Lord so willed, He could surely have made humankind one people; but [He willed it otherwise, and so] they continue to hold divergent views, except those to whom your Lord has shown mercy. And it is for this that God created them.” (11:118-119)
- “O humankind, We created you from a male and a female, and We made you races and tribes for you to get to know each other. The noblest of you in the sight of God are those of you who are most conscientious. And God is omniscient, fully aware.” (49:13)
- “…For every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Where ever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has the power to will anything.” (2:148)
- “The Muslims, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabians, any who believe in God and the last day and do good have their reward with their Lord. There is nothing for them to fear; they will not sorrow.” (2:62)
- “…Among the people of scripture is a community that is upstanding; they read the signs of God through the hours of the night, prostrating themselves. They believe in God and the last day, and they enjoin what is fair and forbid what is repugnant, and they race to good deeds; they are among the righteous. And whatever good they do, they will not be denied it; God knows the conscientious.” (3:113-115).
To learn more about what the Qur’an says about other faiths and the treatment of people of other faiths, please see ING’s answers to common FAQs.
Rise in Hate and Bullying
In the aftermath of such events there is often a rise in hate crimes against Muslims or those who appear to be Muslim. Such acts impact diverse populations such as the recent hate crime against a Sikh professor and medical doctor, Dr. Prabhjot Singh.
Additionally, Muslim students often suffer increased harassment and bullying during such events. If your child or student has been bullied please refer to StopBullying.gov – Prevention at School.
ING also provides an educator training workshop titled Understanding Muslim S
tudents – Fostering an Inclusive Environment at little or no cost to you. Contact ING Program Manager Henry Millstein for more information at: [email protected]
ING Presentations, Panels and Curricula Counter Bigotry
IING’s presentations on Muslims and their faith and related topics as well as ING’s interfaith panels are an excellent way to counter bigotry and stereotyping. We encourage teachers to combine classes for schools with multiple classrooms. See ING’s presentation topics here.
ING curricula offer rich, multimedia resources for combating stereotypes and misconceptions. See ING’s multiple curricula here.