A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS
We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.
We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.
We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.
We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.
As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.
The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).
Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.
We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.
We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.
Prof. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair, South Asia Institute, Columbia University
Anisa Abd el Fattah, Founder and Chairwoman, National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW)
Khaled M Abdel-Hamid, MD, PhD, writer
Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director, Tharwa Foundation
Imam Johari Abdul Malik, Director of Outreach, Dar-Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
Mehnaz M. Afridi, PhD, Adjunct Professor (Judaism, Islam & Genocide Studies) Antioch University
Asma Afsaruddin, PhD, Professor of Islamic Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, PhD, Director, Minaret of Freedom Foundation
Ahrar Ahmad, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Black Hills State University
Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, PhD, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
Osman Ahmed,PhD, President Islamic Society of Essex County, Newark, NJ
Prof. Parvez Ahmed, PhD, Fulbright Scholar & Assoc. Prof. Univ. of North Florida
Barbara Al-Bayati, Co-Founder, Orphan Whispers
Aman Ali, writer, stand-up-comedian
Javed Ali, founder and publisher, Illume magazine
Wajahat Ali, playwright, journalist, and producer of “Domestic Crusaders”
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, JD, LLM (Islamic Law), author of “The Muslim Next Door”
Shaykh al-Hajj Dawud Ahmad al-Amriki, Director, Muslim America
Salam al-Marayati, Pres., Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Shahed Amanullah, Editor-in-Chief, Altmuslim
Patricia Anton, Board member, Muslim Peace Fellowship
M. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair, American Muslim Peace Initiative
Abdul Cader Asmal MD, PhD, Past President, Islamic Council of Mew England
Aref Assaf, PhD, President, American Arab Forum
Hussam Ayloush, Exec. Director, CAIR Greater Los Angeles Area
Hazami Barmada, Pres, American Muslim Interactive Network (AMIN)
Bahar Bastani, M.D., Professor of Medicine, S.L.U., Secy. General Shia Islamic Education Center, VP of IMANA-St. Louis
Victor Ghalib Begg, Senior Advisor, Chairman Emeritus, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan
Jannah bint Hannah, activist, al-Fatiha Foundation
Farah Brelvi, Board of Directors, ACLU-NC
Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director, CAIR-WA
M. Ali Chaudry, PhD, President, Center for Understanding Islam (CUII)
Kamran Cheikh, Activist, Committee member, Muslims for Peace, Justice & Progress (MPJP), researcher for Deen Research Center (DRC)
Noor-Malika Chishti, Vice Chair, So. CA Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Representative, the Sufi Order International, Member, World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations
Robert D. Crane, JD, author of numerous books
Prof Golam Dastagir, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar, New College, University of Toronto, Canada
Almoonir Dewji, blogger - “That We May Know Each Other”
Mustafa Stefan Dill, blogger;/PR/social media analyst for Muslim issues; musician
Ramsey El-Moslimany, member, Board of Directors, Islamic School of Seattle
Lamia El-Sadek, political and human rights activitist
Mohamed Elsanousi, Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
Mona Eltahawy, journalist
Aziz Enhaili, Political analyst, columnist for Tolerance.ca
Yusuf Estes, Chaplain ret., author of many books, public speaker
Prof. Mohammad Fadel, PhD
Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor-in-Chief, Muslimah Media Watch
Mike Ghouse, President, World Muslim Congress
Iftekhar Hai, President, UMA Interfaith Alliance
Rabia Terri Harris, Founder and Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship
Hesham Hassaballa, M.D., author, journalist, blogger - “God, faith, and a pen”
Amir Hussain, PhD, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Iftekhar Hussain, Chair, Board of Directors, CAIR-PA
Arsalan Iftikhar, author, human rights lawyer, blogger - “The Muslim Guy”
Jeffrey Imm, Director, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)
Ghazala Irshad, journalist, blogger - “The Floating Lotus”
Nakia Jackson, writer
M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Safi Kaskas, President & CEO Strategic Edge
Mohja Kahf, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Comparative Literature, Univ. of Arkansas, author “The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf”
Prof. Muqtedar Khan, PhD, author of several books, Blogger - “Globalog”
Farah Kinani, Journalist, blogger - “Global Voices”
Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, Resident Senior Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto
Faisal Kutty, Visiting Asst. Prof. of law, Valparaiso University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)
M. Junaid Levesque-Alam, writer, blogger - “Crossing the Crescent”
David Liepert, M.D., blogger and author of “Muslim, Christian AND Jew”
Radwan A. Masmoudi, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)
Melissa Matos, President, Al-Ghazali Legal Society, Saint Louis University
Shelina Merani, community activist, artist, blogger “Muslim Presence”
Yahya Merchant, Interfaith Worker, Outreach contact for Islamic Center of Conejo Valley CA
Melody Moezzi, JD, MPH, writer and attorney
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, author of many books of poetry
Ebrahim Moosa, Assoc. Professor of Islamic Studies, Dept. of Religion, Duke University
Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, U.S. Army Chaplain
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, President Sound Vision
Arman Musaji, artist
Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim (TAM)
Muneeb Nasir, President, Olive Tree Foundation, Editor IQRA Canada
Q. Amin Nathari, National Representative, Islam in America Movement (IAM)
Ahmed Naumaan, PhD, Director, Karsaz Inc.
Imam Abdul Hai Patel, Dir. Interfaith Relations, Canadian Council of Imams, Muslim Chaplain University of Toronto & York Regional Police
Aziz H. Poonawalla, PhD, scientist and blogger - “City of Brass” on Beliefnet
M.Waheed-uz-Zaman Rana, Imam, Prof. Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Saint Louis University
Hasan Zillur Rahim, PhD, journalist
Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid, The Circle Group
Prof. Hussein Rashid, PhD, blogger - “Religion Dispatches”
Shafi Refai, President, United Muslims of America
Irfan Rydhan, Co-Founder of Muslim Unity Foundation
Muhamed Sacirbey, lawyer, diplomat, writer
Louay Safi, PhD, Common Word Fellow, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding, Georgetown University
Ghulam Abbas Sajan, Director Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Robert Salaam, blogger - “The American Muslim”
Raquel Evita Saraswati, activist, writer, blogger
Sarah Sayeed, President of One Blue
Sophia Rose Shafi, MA, MTS, doctoral candidate (Islamic Studies), writer
T.O. Shanavas. MD, Vice President, Islamic Research Foundation, author
S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Prof., Dept. of Journalism & Mass Com, American University Cairo
Ricka Shorish, M.S., R.N., volunteer/consultant, Avicenna Community Health Center
Jihad Shoshara, community organizer and activist, Chicago
Jafar Siddiqui, blogger - “Penjihad”
Prof. Laury Silvers, PhD
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, PhD, Sr. Lecturer, Islamic Studies & African American Religion, University of Florida
Prof. Ibrahim B. Syed, PhD, President of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., author
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Nat’l Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
J.Tayeb, MD, President, CAIR-MI, ISNA founders committee member, Vice chair, HUDA free Clinic, Detroit
Pamela Taylor, Co-founder Muslims for Progressive Values, Panelist for On Faith
Tayyibah Taylor, Editor, Azizah Magazine
Dr. Hashim El-Tinay, President, International Peace Quest Institute (IPQI)
Mahdi Toourage, PhD, Assistant Prof., U of Western Ontaio
Tarik Trad, writer, humorist, photographer, artist and activist
Asma T. Uddin, Attorney, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Editor, Altmuslimah
Wahida Valiante, President, Canadian Islamic Congress and Chair of Islamic History Month Canada
Jason van Boom, Host of “Islam and Authors”, writer
Amina Wadud, PhD, consultant on Islam and gender, visiting scholar Starr King School for the Ministry
Danya Wellmon, Co-Founder Women Transcending Boundaries interfaith group
Svend White, blogger - “Akram’s Razor”, activist, writer
G. Willow Wilson, author of “Butterfly Mosque” and “Air” graphic novel series
Ani Zonneveld, President, Muslims for Progressive Values
Voice of Moderate Muslims
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
Moderate Islam Speaker
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.