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Ottawa gunman no ‘Muslim brother’

Muslim readers reacted to an article in the Edmonton (Canada) Journal in their letters to the editor:

As a Muslim Canadian, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and express my gratitude to House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers [who killed the attacker] for a remarkable job in a dangerous situation.

There is no excuse for anyone to commit such heinous crimes in the name of religion.

In all the years Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was committing crimes across the country, he was still a Christian. After committing this heinous crime, all of a sudden he became a “Muslim brother” in the letter writer’s view.
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There are 49 Muslim countries around the world and not a single one has ever supported ISIS or condoned such wrongful acts. They are all fighting against these radicals who portray Islam in a false light and wrongfully use the name of religion when committing crimes that violate the teachings of the Qur’an.

Zehaf-Bibeau deserved what he got. Anyone following that path should be dealt with in the same manner.

Z. Haqqi, Edmonton

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Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is no brother of mine, neither in faith nor beliefs.

Like every other Canadian, I have been glued to the news with shock and horror. My children are similarly confused and have asked, “Why did a Muslim do this? Killing is a sin.” What Zehaf-Bibeau did goes against everything I have taught them. All I can say is that this is not Islam.

I, and many others like me, have been outspoken through the media, seminars and open houses about the perverted use of Islam for the sake of violence and political agendas.

Zehaf-Bibeau’s traitorous acts go against the Islamic principle of loyalty to one’s country. As an immigrant who has spent most of my life in Canada, I am honour-bound to this nation that has provided the chance to live in comfort and peace. It is unfortunate that Zehaf-Bibeau’s acts have marred the contributions of many Canadian Muslims and put their loyalties into question.

These accusations and responses take away from the sacrifice given by Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, and my heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Let us not be divided. As a Canadian and a Muslim, we all felt the loss of our Canadian brother on Oct. 22.

Humda Malik, Edmonton

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While some may be quick to blame Islam, we must view these events with rationality and examine the root of the problem.

Like Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, many of these converts seem to be suffering from an identity crisis and view Canada as being complicit in the deaths occurring overseas. I do not condone this perspective, as it is a very myopic view of complex political events staged by an array of nations.

Men like Zehaf-Bibeau — who have no identity, no cause, no social network — learn to live through the suffering of others; they adopt an identity unlike their own so that they can feel significant.

As a Muslim, I condemn his actions, as he has taken the life of an innocent man and violated the security of our nation and the sanctity of my faith. What happened in Ottawa will have repercussions throughout the world, and what happens elsewhere will likewise affect us.

I’m sad for Cpl. Nathan Cirillio, but also feel pain for those killed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. There is no right or wrong party, just a lot of nations with blood on their hands. Let us strive for peace because every life is valuable.

Mansoor Baber, Sherwood Park

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Love for all, hatred for none

Islam imparts peace and submission, is full of noble teachings and aims to establish peace between man and Allah, the creator of all; between man and man, and between man and the rest of God’s creations.

Unfortunately, these days we see the term “jihad” being used very loosely, and men claiming to be Muslims taking lives to achieve a status in heaven. Unfortunately, most of these ill-informed individuals are misinterpreting and misusing the guidance and teachings of Islam.

One such beautiful teaching holds that the unlawful killing or shedding of innocent blood is like the killing of the entire human race. In other words, the taking of a single life is like the massacre of thousands of innocents.

When anyone, Muslim or not, reads this guidance, why would they kill another, as that would clearly be going against the laws of Allah? God almighty has clearly stated how big a sin it is to kill someone without cause. [...]

My deepest and most sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the soldier killed in this attack.

I hope and pray that people of every faith will come to realize and uphold the motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community: Love for all, hatred for none.

Khalida Khawaja, Edmonton

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I cannot begin to understand how taking an innocent life was valid in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s mind.

Since coming to Canada 30 years ago, I have been able to practise my faith freely without fear. I have been blessed with the chance to get somewhere in life and pursue my dreams, whereas in Pakistan I had to hide my identity as an Ahmadi Muslim to avoid persecution.

As immigrants, we have come to Canada to find peace and have the hope of a tomorrow. We should all recall how desperate we were to come here while we suffered in refugee camps, or how we prayed that our case was accepted by immigration. We must all leave our baggage at the door. I will never accept that this land of freedom and opportunity can be destroyed by the sick mentality of individuals like Zehaf-Bibeau, who do not know what it means to be a Canadian, a Muslim and, most of all, a human being.

The Muslim community should be on guard about how Islam is presented to new converts and be quick to challenge those who corrupt Islam for their political beliefs.

May God keep our land glorious and free. Amen!

Malik Hafiz Ullah, Edmonton   »»» Edmonton (Canada) Journal

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Afghan Mullah Who Raped Girl in His Mosque Receives 20-Year Prison Sentence

A mullah who raped a 10-year-old girl in his mosque was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a dramatic trial here in Kabul on Saturday during which his accuser, weeping and shaking, summoned the courage to confront him.

Women’s activists attending the packed proceedings hailed the sentence as a victory because the mullah was successfully prosecuted under a 2009 law meant to fight violence against women in a country where rape had long been treated as adultery, implicitly placing partial blame on the victim. The judge in this case dismissed the mullah’s Shariah law defense.   »»» NYTimes.com

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Isis is a monster created by many countries

Isis could not have emerged without support from western powers and their regional allies. These facilitated the travel of jihadis from 80 countries into Syria, funded them, and then trained and armed them. So long as these jihadis were committing crimes in Syria against Syrians and Assad’s regime (which, to be clear, bears responsibility for the ongoing disaster there), western governments turned a blind eye. After all, at the time Isis was doing the bidding of the same neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who had decided that the overthrow of Libya’s despot, Gaddafi, should be followed by the overthrow of Assad. This would then enable them to go for the main prize, the Iranian regime. However, Isis became a problem for the west when, following the pattern established by al-Qaida and the Taliban, they turned their guns against western interests in the region and tried to capture the oil fields of the Kurdish region, which was not part of the plan.

Although Isis is a product of the west’s policy of domination, it is also a Sunni version of Iran’s Khomeinism. It was Ayatollah Khomeini who sanctified and glorified violence under the garb of religion, and the heinous crimes committed by his regime set precedents for Isis.

Khomeini, Iran’s one-time supreme leader, implemented a doctrine of victory through terrorisation (al-nasro-be-rob), and his regime’s ideologue, Mesbah Yazdi, has said that “if violence is the only way of achieving the Islamic goal, then it is necessary to use it”. He also said that “if, in a place like the desert where the police are not accessible, and if somebody insulted God, the prophet and Islam, then the sentence [hokm] for insulting Islamic sacred is execution and if there is no possibility for a trial, then it is the duty of any Muslim to personally carry it out”. This is exactly what Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis, is doing. Needless to say that Khomeini could not justify his crimes with even one Qur’anic verse, and neither can Isis. I challenge them to cite a single verse from more than 6,600 in the Koran which tolerates, let alone permits, such savagery.   »»» Isis is a monster created by many countries. It requires an international solution | Abolhassan Banisadr | Comment is free | theguardian.com

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Man from Strasbourg Calls Out “Long Live the Islamic State:” Six Months in Prison

A fifty-four year old Frenchman has been sentenced to six months in prison after yelling “Long live the Islamic State,” and threatening to return to the scene with a gun. He was found guilty for “publicly condoning an act of terrorism.” The case dates back to last Monday when the man, who received government financial assistance and had already been charged with threatening public order, became angry.   »»» Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and North America

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Prominent Canadian Muslim cleric urges imams to vet new Islamic converts

A prominent Canadian Muslim cleric says he intends to reach out to other imams to make sure that new converts to Islam are watched closely for signs of radical beliefs.

Soharwardy, the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said imams should look for warning signs, such as a criminal record or drug abuse, before allowing an individual to convert.

“I’m not sure who helped them to convert to Islam. Who was the imam? What kind of relationship did those people have with those people who converted them to Islam? Those very important questions need to be answered,” said Soharwardy.

“They should take on the responsibility of checking backgrounds and staying in touch and make sure this person is not being recruited by any radical organization or terrorist organizations.”

Soharwardy estimates 20 to 30 Canadians convert to Islam every week. He said it is the responsibility of clerics to make sure the converts are doing it for the right reasons.

Soharwardy said he was sickened by the fatal attacks on Canadian soldiers this week. His organization has scheduled a memorial service Friday in Calgary for Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

Soharwardy said he believes that many Muslims are being brainwashed by radical groups such as ISIL. He said there needs to be more sharing of intelligence between Canadian law enforcement and trusted members of the Muslim community who could work together to “deradicalize” those at risk.   »»» CTV News (Canada)

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Regina, Canada Muslim community denounces attacks on soldiers

Debra Schubert was born and raised in Regina, Canada. She converted to Islam 12 years ago because she believed it was a peaceful way of life. She wants to remind people the recent attackers, who both converted to Islam, do not represent or understand the religion.

“It’s a very selfish act and I feel like they are very uneducated because if they knew about the religion they would know that this is completely unjustified and denounced in every way,” Schubert said.

Muslim groups here in the province of Saskatchewan and across Canada have denounced the recent attacks on Canadian soldiers.

“For me ‘recent convert’ means they actually don’t know anything about the religion and that they are just taking authority into their own hands and not caring about the society at large,” she said.   »»» Yahoo News Canada

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Canadian Muslim groups denounce violence, brace for backlash following Ottawa shooting

Representatives of major Canadian Muslim groups gathered Thursday to reiterate their denunciation of terrorism in the name of Islam at a news conference in Ottawa, even as fear of harassment and violence grows in the Muslim-Canadian community.

Our message to anyone who believes in violent extremist ideologies is that you have nothing to do with Islam,” said Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims and one of several speakers at Thursday’s event. “You have nothing to do with the noble principles of our faith, which categorically condemn the taking of innocent life.

Muslim associations across Canada were quick to issue statements of solidarity with their fellow citizens as events unfolded in Ottawa on Wednesday and the killer of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent convert to Islam.

Speakers at the news conference expressed grief and extended condolences to the families affected by the attack, but they also hinted at the strains the event will likely put on Muslim-Canadian communities.

Muslim community leaders, who placed a wreath at the National War Memorial where the fatal shooting took place, spoke with numerous media outlets as well as other Ottawans about what had taken place in the city, with Imam Sikander Hashmi of the Kanata Muslim Association telling Postmedia News that it was “a very emotional day.”

“Obviously there’s a lot of sadness and perhaps some anger as well,” Hashmi said in a phone interview. “This is my country. I haven’t lived anywhere else and I call this home, so for someone to spread bloodshed and violence in my homeland, I don’t take that very kindly. I take great offence to that.”   »»» The Province (Vancouver, Canada)

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Indian scholar debunks ISIS claims about slavery in Islam

Zafarul-Islam Khan, senior Indian Muslim scholar, who is an alumnus of Al-Azhar and Cairo universities and holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Manchester, said it is a lie to claim that Islam allows enslavement of ordinary men and women of conquered lands.

The Indian scholar, who is the head of the Delhi-based Institute of Islamic & Arab Studies and a core member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said this lie has been concocted by ISIS propagandists whose knowledge of Islam is highly doubtful. Dr Khan is the current president of the Indian Muslims apex body, the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat.

The Qur’an never says that the captives could be kept for ever as slaves (33:26, 76:8, 8:67, 8:70 and 2:85). In one of these verses, it offers solace to the captive by saying that God willing his condition will change for the better (8:70). In another verse, the Quran says that believers are those who though themselves hungry feed captives (76:8).

It is correct that the Islamic Shariah (law) allows slavery but the only way someone may lose his/her natural freedom is if he is captured while physically and actually fighting in a battle against a Muslim army – in other words, he is a prisoner of war (PoW). There is no other way to deprive someone of his natural state of freedom. There is no instance where the Prophet (pbuh) or his immediate successors ever enslaved ordinary people who were not actually fighting a Muslim army. The Prophet used to give his armies clear instructions not to touch children, elderly men and women and people who are not involved in fighting.   »»» Indian scholar debunks ISIS claims about slavery in Islam

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Four Egyptians behind ISIS takfirist ideology

Four Egyptian men are at the heart of attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to find religious justification for its bloody attempts to forge a new “caliphate,” a number of experts on fundamentalist movements told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.

The sources said the four men formed the “core” of the group’s ideological leadership, and oversaw its attempts to administer its own brand of Islamic justice in areas under its control, despite having little education in mainstream Islamic scholarship.

They are Helmi Hashim (known as “Abdul Rahman Shakir Naamallah”), who hails from Upper Egypt and is the group’s main jurisprudential authority; ISIS’s head Shari’a judge Abu Muslim Al-Masri; another man bearing the same name, who is now believed to have been killed and who was the group’s main Shari’a judge in Aleppo; and Aboul Harith Al-Masri.

Hashim, the most influential on the list, is regarded as ISIS’s chief ideologue, and is the author of a book, The People of Cessation between Doubt and Certainty. In this work, he argues that since all “abodes” around the world, including Muslim-majority countries, are not truly “Islamic,” they are legitimate targets for armed violence, and the practice of takfir (declaring others, including other Muslims, to be infidels) should continue.

Hashism therefore declares those who have “ceased” in declaring others infidels and fail to spread the message of Islam are also infidels. ISIS, like other modern extremist takfirist groups, regularly labels other Muslims who do not follow its own doctrines infidels, including fellow Sunni extremists not fighting alongside them, such as the Al-Nusra Front, and followers of other Islamic sects, such as Shi’ites.

Sirri is adamant, however, that these four men should not be regarded as genuine religious scholars.

“The problem with these people is that they did not take their knowledge from those who actually have it [i.e. respected scholars]; they merely browsed a number of books and then went and declared some fatwas—without the proper knowledge. So they went astray [from Islam] and led others along with them,” he said.
   »»» ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (London, U.K.)

In the Amman Message as amended in June 2006, over 200 Muslim scholars who signed it declared that “takfir” (declaring other Muslims as unbelievers) is forbidden. They said:

It is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any other group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him), the pillars of faith (Iman), and the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.

There are “good” Muslims and “bad” Muslims according to their degree of righteousness or sinfulness, but no one who does not knowingly violate the precepts of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) can be declared an appostate or unbeliever. The practice of ISIS in declaring fellow Muslims to be unbelievers and apostates who may be killed, is contrary to the laws of God (Qur’an) and the traditions of the Prophet (Sunna). Such a practice places the people of ISIS in the camp of the heretics, renegades and blasphemers.

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Another battle with Islam’s self-appointed ‘true believers’

If they ever gained strength, they would surely corrupt the whole of the Earth, Iraq and Shaam [Syria] – they would not leave a baby, male or female, neither a man or a woman, because as far as they are concerned the people have caused corruption, a corruption that cannot be rectified except by mass killing.

This prescient description by 14th-century Muslim theologian Ismail ibn Kathir alluded to the Khawarij, a fanatical sect that broke away from both the Sunni and Shia traditions of Islam. The very name is derived from the Arabic root kharaja, which means to leave.

Contemporary theologians have been drawing comparisons of the extremist beliefs and actions of the Khawarij to those of the Islamic State. The analysis illuminates the dangerous allure of this militant group, and Muslims’ duty to combat them by all means. The sword and the pen have now joined forces: Nations have mobilized to destroy the Islamic State, while more than 100 international Muslim scholars have issued a refutation of the group’s anti-Islamic ideology.

The Prophet Mohammed had warned the nascent Muslim community about a sect that would emerge from Iraq; its followers would pray, recite the Koran, call for sharia and invoke God in persuasive fashion. Yet, the Prophet warned, they would have nothing to do with Islam, for their actions would betray the very fundamentals of the faith. In the name of God, they would kill those who did not agree with their interpretation. They would consist mostly of youths with “foolish dreams” of grandeur. And, if he were alive when they emerged, he would fight them, for they would be the “worst of creation.”

The Khawarij emerged shortly after the Prophet’s death, during the seventh-century Battle of Siffin near the Syrian-Iraqi border, between the fourth caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah, the Muslim governor of Syria. They killed in the most brutal manner, and revelled in bloodletting.

Today, theologians are warning Muslims about the dangers of the Islamic State by pointing to the movement’s similar theological underpinnings. Don’t be fooled by the flowery language, the invocation of God and the Koran, the readiness for martyrdom or the call to sharia – this is a fanatical cult that has deviated from the path of Islam, and its actions belie its adherents’ professed faith.

As with the Khawarij, the Islamic State has attracted misguided youth with “foolish dreams.” The Khawarij declared those with theological differences as “disbelievers” warranting death; the Islamic State has killed thousands of Muslims – Sunni and Shia – during its takeover of villages in Iraq and Syria. The Khawarij demanded the enslavement of women and children during the battle of Siffin (the Caliph Ali refused); the Islamic State has carried out this abominable practice. Both groups are willing to die in a heartbeat for their “beliefs.” Like the Khawarij, Islamic State members believe they are the only “true Muslims” while the rest are disbelievers, worthy of death. It has threatened all opponents, including Muslim theologians warning against its fanatical ways. Their self-professed piety is built on a foundation of arrogance.   »»» Another battle with Islam’s ‘true believers’ – The Globe and Mail

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