AK Voices: Al-Hajj Frederick H Minshall

Al-Hajj Frederick H Minshall is a US Navy veteran with a degree in fisheries biology who has lived in Alaska since 2004. He is an Ithna-Ashari ("Twelver") Shi'a Muslim whose chief hobby is overindulging his four grandchildren. "Al-Hajj" (Arabic root "Hijr"—"journey") means "the Pilgrim," and is a traditional title for one who has made pilgrimage to Mecca.

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We Were Not Silent

FORWARD:

Below I’ve reproduced excerpts, and listed sources and/or links for same, from statements by prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations condemning the 911 atrocity within days of its occurrence. Their voices were among those of millions raised in outrage against that horrendous crime. However, in the confusion of the time, and due to deliberate suppression that followed after, these voices don’t seem to have been heard by many outside the Muslim community.

Included herein are both Sunni and Shi’a organizations and individuals, ranging from those whom I greatly admire (including the Mujtahiid—Islamic Jurist—to whom I’ve given "beyah", fealty), to those with whom I disagree vehemently over very substantial issues of faith and morality. But on this particular issue we stood united:

Mustafa Mashhur, General Guide, Muslim Brotherhood—Egypt; Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan—Pakistan; Mufti Rahman Nizami, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh—Bangladesh; Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, Founder, Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)—Palestine; Rashid Ghannoushi, President, Nahda Renaissance Movement—Tunisia; Fazil Nour, President, PAS – Parti Islam SeMalaysia—Malaysia; and 40 other Muslim scholars and politicians:

“The undersigned, leaders of Islamic movements, are horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Surah al-Isra 17:15).”

MSANews, September 14, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20010920150230/http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/200109/20010917.15.html;
Arabic original in al-Quds al-Arabi (London), September 14, 2001, p. 2, http://81.144.208.20:9090/pdf/2001/09Sep/14%20Sep%20Fri/Quds02.pdf

Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Qatar; Tariq Bishri, Egypt; Muhammad S. Awwa, Egypt; Fahmi Huwaydi, Egypt; Haytham Khayyat, Syria; Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, U.S.:

“All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment. … [It is] necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and [punished] appropriately. … [It is] a duty of Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means.”

Statement of September 27, 2001. The Washington Post, October 11, 2001, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40545-2001Oct10.html (Full text of this fatwa in English and Arabic).

Shaykh Muhammed Sayyid al-Tantawi, imam of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt:

“Attacking innocent people is not courageous, it is stupid and will be punished on the day of judgement. … It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom, it is courageous to defend oneself and not to attack.”

Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001

Abdel-Mo’tei Bayyoumi, al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy, Cairo, Egypt:

“There is no terrorism or a threat to civilians in jihad [religious struggle].”

Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 20 – 26 September 2001, http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2001/552/p4fall3.htm

Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist group in Egypt, said it was “horrified” by the attack and expressed “condolences and sadness”:

“[We] strongly condemn such activities that are against all humanist and Islamic morals. … [We] condemn and oppose all aggression on human life, freedom and dignity anywhere in the world.”

Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 13 – 19 September 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20010915023839/http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2001/551/fo2.htm

Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide of the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon, said he was “horrified” by these “barbaric … crimes”:

“Beside the fact that they are forbidden by Islam, these acts do not serve those who carried them out but their victims, who will reap the sympathy of the whole world. … Islamists who live according to the human values of Islam could not commit such crimes.”

Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the Sunna and Sira Council, Qatar:

“Our hearts bleed for the attacks that has targeted the World Trade Center [WTC], as well as other institutions in the United States despite our strong oppositions to the American biased policy towards Israel on the military, political and economic fronts. Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur’anic verse which reads: ‘Who so ever kills a human being [as punishment] for [crimes] other than manslaughter or [sowing] corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind’ (Al-Ma’idah:32).”

Statement of September 13, 2001. English source: http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2001-09/13/article25.shtml (link broken). Arabic original at http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=1665&version=1&template_id=130&parent_id=17

Tahirul Qadri, head of the Awami Tehrik Party, Pakistan:
“Bombing embassies or destroying non-military installations like the World Trade Center is no jihad. … “[T]hose who launched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks not only killed thousands of innocent people in the United States but also put the lives of millions of Muslims across the world at risk. … Bin Laden is not a prophet that we should put thousands of lives at risk for.”

United Press International, October 18, 2001, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/10/17/195606.shtml

Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, supreme jurist-ruler of Iran:

“Killing of people, in any place and with any kind of weapons, including atomic bombs, long-range missiles, biological or chemical weopons, passenger or war planes, carried out by any organization, country or individuals is condemned. … It makes no difference whether such massacres happen in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Qana, Sabra, Shatila, Deir Yassin, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or in New York and Washington.”

Islamic Republic News Agency, September 16, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20010920073203/http://www.irna.com/en/hphoto/010916000000.ehp.shtml

President Muhammad Khatami of Iran:

“[T]he September 11 terrorist blasts in America can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.”

Address to the United Nations General Assembly, November 9, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20011203012207/http://www.president.ir/cronicnews/1380/8008/800818/800818.htm

Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar), Turkish author:

“Islam does not encourage any kind of terrorism; in fact, it denounces it. Those who use terrorism in the name of Islam, in fact, have no other faculty except ignorance and hatred.”

Harun Yahya, “Islam Denounces Terrorism,” http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com

Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, Pakistani-American Muslim leader:

“The sudden barbaric attack on innocent citizens living in peace is extremely distressing and deplorable. Every gentle human heart goes out to the victims of this attack and as humans we are ashamed at the barbarism perpetrated by a few people. Islam, which is a religion of peace and tolerance, condemns this act and sees this is as a wounding scar on the face of humanity. I appeal to Muslims to strongly condemn this act, express unity with the victims’ relatives, donate blood, money and do whatever it takes to help the affected people.”

“Messages From Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi,” http://web.archive.org/web/20010918200837/http://www.icna.org/wtc_islahi.htm

Syed Mumtaz Ali, President of the Canadian Society of Muslims:

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Canadians in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”

Canadian Society of Muslims, Media Release, September 12, 2001, http://muslim-canada.org/news09112001.html
15 American Muslim organizations:

“We reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of the crime committed on September 11, 2001 and join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of up to 6000 innocent civilians.”

Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), Solidarity International, American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice (AMGPJ), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), United Muslim Americans Association (UMAA), Islamic Media Foundation (IMF), American Muslim Foundation (AMF), Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO), American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), October 22, 2001,
http://web.archive.org/web/20011121152646/http://www.icna.org/wtc_pr.htm

Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair of the American Muslim Alliance:

“These attacks are against both divine and human laws and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The Muslim Americans join the nation in calling for swift apprehension and stiff punishment of the perpetrators, and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.”
September 11, 2001,

http://web.archive.org/web/20010920045238/http://www.amaweb.org/AMA+Condemns.html

Hamza Yusuf, American Muslim leader:

“Religious zealots of any creed are defeated people who lash out in desperation, and they often do horrific things. And if these people [who committed murder on September 11] indeed are Arabs, Muslims, they’re obviously very sick people and I can’t even look at it in religious terms. It’s politics, tragic politics. There’s no Islamic justification for any of it. … You can’t kill innocent people. There’s no Islamic declaration of war against the United States. I think every Muslim country except Afghanistan has an embassy in this country. And in Islam, a country where you have embassies is not considered a belligerent country. In Islam, the only wars that are permitted are between armies and they should engage on battlefields and engage nobly. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.” The Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet, say that no one can punish with fire except the lord of fire. It’s prohibited to burn anyone in Islam as a punishment. No one can grant these attackers any legitimacy. It was evil.”

San Jose Mercury News, September 15, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20010920073355/http://www0.mercurycenter.com/local/center/isl0916.htm

Nuh Ha Mim Keller, American Muslim author:

“Muslims have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to hide, and should simply tell people what their scholars and religious leaders have always said: first, that the Wahhabi sect has nothing to do with orthodox Islam, for its lack of tolerance is a perversion of traditional values; and second, that killing civilians is wrong and immoral.”

“Making the World Safe for Terrorism,” September 30, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20011116182521/http://66.34.131.5/ISLAM/nuh/terrorism.htm

Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), prominent British Muslim:

“I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: the Qur’an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims at this sorrowful moment.”

[On singing an a cappella version of "Peace Train" for the Concert for New York City:] “After the tragedy, my heart was heavy with sadness and shock, and I was determined to help in some way. Organizers asked me to take part in a message for tolerance and sing ‘Peace Train.’ Of course, I agreed. … As a Muslim from the West, it is important to me to let people know that these acts of mass murder have nothing to do with Islam and the beliefs of Muslims.”

Press release of September 13, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20040515132957/mountainoflight.co.uk/pages/news/2001/sept132001_press.html, and interview of October 22, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20040224202406/mountainoflight.co.uk/pages/news/2001/oct2220001_starstribute.html

AFTERWORD:

Of course, if the above list was ten times as long it wouldn’t satisfy Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Steven Emerson and their ilk. As Allah Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala—Glorious, Perfect and Most High God—reminds us in His Qur’an:

“Wa lan-tarzaa ankal-Yahuudu wa lan-Nasaara battaa tattabi’a millatahum…”

“And never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you until you follow their way…”

(Sura Baqara—Ayat 120, A. Yusuf ‘Ali translation)

Denunciations from various Sa’udi dignitaries were not included above because members of the Sa’udi ruling families were implicated in the attack, and because of their obvious pro-US alignment. I felt denunciations coming from those traditionally opposed, rather than dependent upon, US foreign policy carried more weight.

I admit being initially unprepared for subsequent accusations that Muslims had largely “remained silent” with respect to denunciation of the 911 atrocity, because looking (or listening) “from the inside-out” so-to-speak, I found no such silence. It does appear there was a good deal of “deafness”, deliberately-imposed or otherwise, among non-Muslims, and I was—initially—unaware of the degree to which Muslim organizations and spokespersons had been muzzled in the wake of the attack.

Nonetheless we did not remain silent. Indeed, the Syed (“religious leader”) who held forth at the Islamic center where I attended Friday Prayers on the week of the attack went so far as to shout “God Bless George Bush!” from the minbar.

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