What Australian Muslim leaders really think about terrorism
SO what do Australia's Muslim leaders really think about terrorist attacks?
With the community demanding clerics take a tough stand against radical violence, we asked the highest ranking imams to speak out.
Here are their responses.
Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali
Former Grand Mufti of Australia, 1989 to 2007; Former Head Imam of the Lakemba Mosque
"Terrorism is the modern AIDS that has infiltrated continents and brought fear to the whole world. World health bodies mobilised all their resources and co-operated to find treatments for AIDS, the avian flu, the swine flu and mad cow disease. The entire world co-operated to save and protect humanity from the dangers of these deadly diseases.
However, I would not be exaggerating if I was to say that the disease of terrorism is more dangerous than all these diseases, because we, the world community, all participated in creating and nurturing this disease.
Yes, all of us, starting with the USA as the biggest and most powerful nation and ending with the smallest Arabic nation whose land area is no bigger than a tennis court. This disease continues to be nourished by religious ignorance and political interests (opportunism).
This is evidenced by the co-ordination and co-operation between America and the Arabic and Islamic nations which agitated for Jihad against Godless communism, where naturally, America was to benefit from the defeat of Russia.
As a matter of fact, America intervened and employed all its scientific and military ability to train the Mujahideen and opened its doors in front of Bin Laden and the Mujahideen from all over the world as the Gulf simultaneously opened its treasuries and banks to finance and support Jihad, the rest is history.
We are all direct or indirect partners in creating Daeshi terror
From there, terrorism was firmly planted, and from there, New York, in the heart of America was struck on 9/11. Secondly, and with the same stupidity, we created a new environment for terrorism after manufacturing the myth of Iraqi's WMDs owned by the "criminal oppressor Saddam Hussein".
However, after we got rid of Hussein whom we supported with money and weapons to fight against Iran, and then we allied with Arabic nations to destroy Iraq, we found that we made 100 Husseins and we are finding the same taking place in Syria at the present time.
Thirdly, the emergence of terrorism in its new garment (Daesh) confirms the veracity of this reality, that is, the Daeshis have US clothing and all their vehicles, weapons and technology are American, the heavens do not rain tanks or cannons or missile launchers.
The Arabic and Islamic countries participated in this under the supervision of America which deceived the Gulf countries into believing that Daesh is a Muslim Sunni power that will fight and eliminate the Shia and Hizbulah thus giving itself assurance and control over the funding. At the same time, they convinced Iran that the Daeshis will not harm their (Iran's) interests or fight the Syrian regime, so it caught both preys with one bait.
The conclusion is that we are all direct or indirect partners in creating Daeshi terror, for this reason, this disease will not leave out any nation without exporting its evils and dangers there, the West, the East, the Arabs, Iran, each will have its turn and its share (of the evil of terrorism). Let's not forget that the biggest inciters to the ideology of terrorism live in Western nations and most of the suicidal terrorists and be-headers came from Western countries, this raises a huge exclamation mark and shows that there is something seriously wrong."
All acts of terrorism and extremism are vile criminal acts that are completely unjustifiable
Imam Inam-ul-Haq Kauser
National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia
"Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia unequivocally condemns in the strongest possible terms London and Brighton terrorist attacks. All acts of terrorism and extremism are vile criminal acts that are completely unjustifiable. We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and pray for a full and speedy recovery of those injured. Such acts find no hiding place in Islam for it rejects extremism and terrorism in any form and for any reason. In Islam, killing an innocent person is alike killing the whole of mankind and saving the life of one is as you have saved whole of mankind."
Imam M Atae Rabbi Hadi
Minister of Religion for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Sydney
"As a Muslim Imam I strongly condemn the recent attacks in the UK and Melbourne. I have extensively studied Islamic theology and would like to emphasis that there is no room for terrorism in Islam.
We must stand together in solidarity and not let the extremists divide us
The Holy Koran describes the value of one human life to be equal to that of the lives of all humanity and that the killing of one innocent soul is akin to killing the whole of mankind. Similarly, creating disorder on the earth and forcefully imposing your beliefs on others is categorically forbidden in Islam. A true Muslim is he who safeguards the rights of others. Extremism is our common enemy; therefore, due to our shared humanity we must stand together in solidarity and not let the extremists divide us."
Auburn Gallipoli Mosque president
"We believe that as the Federation of Turkish Islamic Cultural Centres Australia: A Muslim cannot be a terrorist and a terrorist cannot be a Muslim. One of the Islamic principles states that killing innocent people is prohibited. People who commit these crimes are violating the rights of the God's rulings and are criminals who should be punished. No one has the right to destroy the magnificent creation of God called the "human being". He who created all of us.
We clearly condemn these acts and it has no place in Islam
A True Believer of God who is created by the very same God He/She believes will refrain to attempt to commit terrorist acts, unless they have diluted beliefs, which serves their own agenda. Those who act on their discredited ideology to justify their crimes should face justice for the safety of humanity. God clearly states in the Koran chapter 6, verse 151 " … do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden" Therefore, We clearly condemn these acts and it has no place in Islam. We pray that criminals of such be caught as soon as possible, presented to justice and punished accordingly. May God have mercy on the souls of those whose lives were cut short because of such horrific acts. Our hearts go to their loved ones who are left mourning."
Islamic Friendship Association founder
"Throughout my life, both in Australia and in my country of birth (Lebanon, where I spent the first 12 years and 11 months of my life), I have been taught by my parents and my Imams that Islam is a religion of peace, that Islam promotes peace with fellow human beings, peace with the environment, peace with God, peace with oneself, peace, peace, peace. I have been taught to greet with peace, to end my prayers with peace to think of paradise as the place of absolute peace and to know Allah as Assalam ("The Peace"). Our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, also taught us that "the human being (every human, regardless of race, colour or religion) is made by God, cursed is anyone who destroys a human life."
Everything I have been taught in Islam condemns these actions
Yet, in this holy month of Ramadan, we have seen brutal acts of murderous terror committed in the UK and in Australia where the perpetrator(s) tried to hide under Islam. I condemn the actions of these murderers in the strongest terms, everything I have been taught in Islam condemns these actions and foretells of a curse of eternal damnation on perpetrators of such murderous terror. I call on all Muslims to join me in reaching out to the families of the victims and to the survivors - regardless of their faith, colour or race - with love and support as we do towards our own family members if they - God forbid - were to be in such a position."
Dr Rateb Jneid
President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, which represents Sunnis, runs Australia's largest Islamic school Malek Fahd in Greenacre and has the power to grant Halal Certification.
"Terrorism is a menace which has destroyed many lives all around the world. The incidents in Manchester, London, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, France and back home in Australia highlight the indiscriminate nature of the problem. It is therefore our collective responsibility to speak up and fight against the warped ideology behind such crimes.
It is our collective responsibility to speak up and fight against the warped ideology behind such crimes
While terrorist organisations like to claim that their justification is based on Islamic teachings, this cannot be more further than the truth. It is therefore detrimental to blame Muslims as not only are the Muslims largest victims of terrorism, we are actively fighting against terrorist through words and actions across the world.
In some of the most recent incidents the perpetrators are those who linger on the fringes of Muslim and the wider communities and are often involved in criminal activity. Their actions are as much an act of desperation as they are a political or a religious statement. While we face the threat of terrorism it is important that we do not let it divide us and destroy social harmony. If we allow this to happen, this will indeed be a victory for terrorist groups".
Imam Jasmin Bekric
Head Imam of the Bosnian Islamic Community in Australia
"If we as Muslims do not admit we have a problem with terrorism in the name of Islam our condemnation alone, as much as it is sincere, will ring hollow.
The latest spout of terrorist attacks that killed innocent people and wounded dozens affected my Bosniak Islamic community and me profoundly. This kind of unadulterated corruption of Islam is not only wrong and dangerous it is damaging to our common destiny. This must be stopped before it becomes too late for our modern human civilisation to function and even survive as we know it.
If we as Muslims do not admit we have a problem with terrorism in the name of Islam our condemnation alone, as much as it is sincere, will ring hollow
We have always consistently condemned terrorism of any kind let alone terrorism in the name of Islam, and we will do so in the future. Our condemnation alone, however, as much as it is sincere and necessary, will not solve the problem of "terrorism in the name of Islam". Heinous crimes have already tainted peaceful nature of our religion and cast a dark shadow on our fellow Muslims as "people somewhat more prone to terror than followers of other religions". We know this is not true, but we should also know that facts or rational thinking alone do not shape our societies as much as they are shaped by people's perceptions of us, Muslims. We therefore must pay more attention to how people perceive us. Distinguished professor Brian Turner from UWS once wisely remarked, "it is not only important what Islam says and stands for, but how Muslims live and behave".
Terror attacks, no matter whether they occurred in Manchester, London and Paris, Istanbul and Ankara, Baghdad, Melbourne or Sydney or most recently in Tehran, all come from same ideological matrixes of corrupted Islam. Deranged, indoctrinated and misguided young people who have been led astray by ideologues who manipulate Islam for their own political agendas committed them. As scholars of Islam and community leaders we must therefore take back the ownership of Islam the extremists have hijacked from us. It is not an easy task to accomplish and it requires firm commitments and joint efforts of Muslim community leaders, scholars, academicians and lastly, law enforcement agencies."
A spokesman (refused to give his name) from the hard line Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association of Australia in Auburn:
"You're asking the wrong questions my friend. What track record do you have of helping? The media does not help the situation. This should be coming from the authorities. You're not trying to help. If you have children at school from Islamic faith you would understand, but you don't understand anything. Thank you very much."
Originally published as How Muslim leaders feel about terrorism