Imams and Islamic leaders have come out this weekend in a unified voice to speak out against the unprecedented increase in global violence we are witnessing following terror attacks in France, Lebanon and Iraq.
On the evening of Friday 13th November, the French capital, Paris was rocked by a series of coordinated terror attacks that saw over 120 people killed and countless more injured. This attack came in a week that also saw 44 Lebanese citizens killed in a Beirut bomb attack and 19 Iraqi citizens killed in an all too familiar suicide bomb in Baghdad.
In today’s globally connected world, we sat transfixed to our laptops, smartphones and TV screens, as witnesses to horrors unfolding all over the globe. The frequency of violence in today’s world is something that becomes ever more difficult to understand.
As condolences began to pour out for the victims of Paris and the mourners gathered in Beirut and Baghdad, Imams from across the USA and the UK came together to express their grief and show that Muslims have never been apathetic towards violence but rather share in the same grief and mourn for the same loss of life as our tradition has taught us to do.
Imam Omar Suleiman expressed his grief by saying,
#ParisAttacks One of the greatest blessings of God upon a people is their sense of security and safety. No one should have to live in fear. Only cowards attack innocent civilians. Praying for the victims of terror and violence around the world.
Imam Khalid Latif, Muslim chaplain to the NYPD, shared this status on his Facebook page,
New York stands tonight with the people of France.
Tonight’s attacks in Paris, yesterday’s attacks in Beirut, and the ongoing violence throughout the world is beyond hard to understand. It’s important to not let the worst elements of humanity define for us who we are. Lives have been lost. Our sense of tolerance, compassion, and humanity should not be lost as well. The solution to hate cannot be hate.
Imam Adam Kelwick, Muslim prison chaplain and a humanitarian aid worker for refugees commented,
Just like the horrible wars we see being waged in the Middle East and beyond, this is nothing except evil people killing innocent humans.
Our response in these situations is what ultimately defines us. We must remember that it is our humanity that separates us from those that seek to harm. As Imam Suhaib Webb poignantly said,
The refugees to Europe from Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria are fleeing the same ideology that brought terror to Paris and Beirut.
For now, let us mourn in our own way and keep in our prayers those that have been affected by violence, be they in France, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Burma or Yemen.
You can see other statements written by Imams and Scholars following the atrocities in Paris below: