Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism

Sheila Musaji

Posted Dec 9, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism

by Sheila Musaji

A recent article “The silence of the American Muslim community on terrorism speaks loudly” by JIm Ragano* is typical of the selective hearing of those who have made up their minds about Islam and Muslims.

The American Muslim,” an important Islamic organ and one that claims the label of “moderate Muslim,” is hypersensitive to the feelings of many Americans that Muslims are silent on terrorism. TAM states that “Muslims are accused of not speaking up or of not speaking up loudly or clearly enough. This is a baseless claim.” To support their position they provide a section of their Web site that ostensibly provides the reader with hundreds examples of “Muslims against extremism.”

After pointing to a few recent articles under the heading of MAE (Muslims Against Extremism) he comes to the conclusion that As far as the American Muslim population generally is concerned, I continue to find little but silence.

It is interesting that in his research of The American Muslim site he entirely missed all of the fatwas and statements by organizations and individuals in the 466 items that come up in a search of MAE on the site.

A few months ago, Thomas Friedman made the same error in an article If It’s A Muslim Problem It Needs a Muslim Solution in which he said “To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.”

I suppose it all depends on how you define “cleric”, or “fatwa”, or define who is a “major” or significant cleric or religious body, but I certainly cannot agree that Muslims - ordinary Muslims, clerics, scholars, religious bodies, political leaders (Sunni and Shiah) have not spoken up.

We have collected 105 fatwas from Islamic scholars, 75 statements by Islamic Organizations (many of these signed by anywhere from 50 to 500 scholars from around the world), and 142 statements by individual Muslims.  These are from 30 countries including:  Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Britain, Chechnya, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, New Zealand,  Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, U.S., Yemen. 

They speak clearly against terrorism, suicide bombing, kidnapping, harming civilians, harming places of worship, weapons of mass destruction.  They clarify the Islamic position on minority rights and apostasy.  Some directly condemn al-Qaeda and bin Laden, and specific acts like 9/11 or the Madrid bombing.

There is almost no issue involving terrorism, extremism, or injustice that has not been addressed.  Most Islamic scholars have spoken clearly. 

We have now put online a number of summary collections of these materials so that they can be easily accessed without having to spend hours searching:


Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism - Resources (collections of articles and references)
- Part I Fatwas
- Part II Statements by Organizations
- Part III Statements and Articles by Individuals
- Part IV A Few Quotes
- Part V The Muslim Majority Who Don’t Get Publicity
- Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism
- Sunni Shia Resource - collection of articles

- Polls, statistics, and surveys relating to Islam and Muslims
- Resources for Responses to Islamophobia and Allegations Against Islam and Muslims
- Claim That All Terrorists are Muslims Ignores History collection of incidents and responses
- Islamophobia - Alarming Statements 1 - 2000 and before
- Islamophobia - Alarming Statements 2 - 2001-2005
- Islamophobia - Alarming Statements 3 - 2006-2007
- Mosques that have experienced vandalism or violent incidents
- Islamophobia - Incidents

We are working to complete additional categories and will get them online as part of this series as soon as possible.

We will update these regularly, and would appreciate information about any items that are missing.

The next time someone says “where are the Muslim voices?”, or “why don’t the Muslims speak up?” refer them to this resource.