July 4, 2016
It is with great sadness and profound grief that we have to once again express our deep sympathy to the recent victims of the savage crimes of ISIS in Orlando, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Those who carry out these barbaric and vicious acts pay no heed to the religion or nationality of their innocent victims but are driven by sheer hate, animosity, and bigotry to promote their own political agenda. You must know that the overwhelming majority of their victims are Muslims and not people of other faiths or unbelievers. Thus, even though these terrorists claim that they are acting in accordance with the teachings of Islam, which is furthest from the truth and reality, the fact of the matter is that they have instrumentalized Islam for their ulterior motives and are exploiting the religious lexicon found in the Islamic tradition to recruit native Muslims and converts who are disillusioned, disenfranchised, lacking an identity, and mentally unstable.
ICCNC would like to channel the sympathy and energy generated from this great tragedy and the enormous suffering and pain toward healing and constructive understanding of some of the potential causes that have given rise to radicalism and extremism among a fringe group of Muslims, with the hope of finding solutions to uproot this scourge. The phenomenon of radicalism does not happen in a vacuum as every ideology influences and is influenced by a number of factors including social, political, cultural, and historical. Thus, one has to take into account the impact of colonialism, nationalism, invasions by the superpowers, despotic and tyrant rulers in the Muslim world (many of whom are or were supported by the West, in particular Saudi Arabia) with no outlet for expressing dissent or disagreement, inability to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the subsequent feeling of humiliation felt by the Muslims, poverty, lack of education, hopelessness, despair, political grievances and resentment, and promotion of the exclusivist, toxic, dogmatic, literalist, and non-rational ideology of Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia, which demonizes and dehumanizes everyone who does agree with its views. The latter, especially, has used its petro dollars to spread its perverted version of Islam throughout the world, especially in third-world countries. The tentacles of extremism have spread far and wide and we are now witnessing the disastrous outcome.
However, according to the teachings of Islam, no cause – no matter how legitimate and sound – can justify the killing of innocent people. The terrorist are criminals and thugs, and do not have an iota of conscience or affiliation with the noble values of Islam.
ICCNC also realizes that Muslims will have to play a vital role to weed out this extremist ideology by engaging in an open and frank discourse on issues and challenges in a welcoming and non-threatening environment to bring to light and celebrate the great diversity that exists within the Islamic tradition. In this regard, it has been active in networking with other groups and in exploring issues like compatibility between Islam and modernity, and promoting intra-Muslim dialogue and pluralistic thought that respects differing views. The freedoms afforded in the American civil society makes it an ideal place to engage in an internal critical discourse amongst the Muslims.
Happy 4th of July.
ICCNC Board of Directors