Wednesday, the 7th of January saw 12 people murdered at French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Following such a shocking event, the Imams of the UK voice their outrage and strongly condemn such brutality in the strongest terms. Nothing is more immoral, ugly and offensive to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and insulting to Muslims than murder in his name.
As has become the unfortunate nature of such attacks, the perpetrators have been identified as ‘Islamist Extremists’ and because of this, the Imams of the UK feel it their duty to continue speaking out against false manifestations of their religion.
It goes without saying that brutality and cold-blooded murder such as this is the antithesis of Islam and its tenets. The action of these criminals has no place in Islam and their claim to be ‘avenging the Prophet’ is laced with hypocrisy and proves they are the furthest from his teachings. Even though the magazine has a controversial history of caricaturising the Prophet (SAW), such depictions of him do not diminish his character for men of pure faith. The Prophet’s mantra was always one of Peace and Compassion, even as he bled.
It is important that we do not descend into arguments around ‘clash of civilisation’ or promote harmful notions of ‘Islam vs. The West’. The fact that one of the police officers murdered was a Muslim is testament to the inaccuracies of these ideas. It is in the very notion of ‘freedom’ that gives Muslims the security of living and settling in the West. There is no other outcome of violence than more violence. Hate begets hate.
The Imams of the UK leave you with this small point for reflection. The strongest relationships are built upon communication, trust and cooperation. We must continue to promote works of interfaith and community cohesion. The Imams extend, as they always have, open invitations to engage them in discussion and ask them the questions you want. Let us continue to work towards mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.
We, the undersigned, fully support this statement and stand united against violent extremism.
- Qari Mohammed Asim MBE – Senior Imam Makkah Masjid, Leeds
- Sheikh Muhammad Manwar Ali – JIMAS, Norwich
- Mualana Shahid Raza OBE – Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester
- Imam Rafiq Sufi Patel – Vice Chairman Lancashire of Mosque, Blackburn
- Mufti Zymer Salihi – Chairman Albanian and Turkish Islamic Foundation, London
- Prof Masood Akhtar Hazarvi – Al Hira Education Centre, Luton
- Dr Musharraf Hussain – Director Karima Foundation, Nottingham
- Sheikh Mohamed el Sharkawy – Al Azhar Academy, London
- Sheikh Tahir Fayyaz – Abu Bakr Masjid, Southall London
- Sheikh Sabazada Jeelani – Wycombe Islamic Mission/ South East Imams Forum, High Wycombe
- Chairman Abdul Hameed Qurashi – Lancashire Council of Mosques, Preston
- Imam Ghulam Rasool – Trustee Sultan Bahu Trust, Birmingham
- Sheikh Sayed Ali Abass Razawi- Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, London
- Hafiz Zaheer Shabir – Bristol Council of Mosques, Bristol
- Imam M Irfan Chisti MBE – Rochdale Council of Mosques, Light of Islam Academy, Rochdale