To The Daily Sun,
Anna Derose has written a string of letters that are truly tragicomical. Anna thinks Bernie is a communist. Anna thinks Trump is rational. Anna gets mad if she sees a Muslim woman with her hair covered. Anna gets mad if you don't say Merry Christmas.
Ms. DeRose wants to know where the Muslims are that condemn terrorism. Well, they are everywhere because they are most of them. Millions of Muslims are silent because they too are terrified of the militias, the fanatics, and the authoritarian religious governments. They are in prisons because they question conservative religious authorities. They have been murdered by radicalized Muslims by the thousands. Assassinations abound. Unsolved murders are the norm. Their families have been threatened so they can only whisper their dissent. The bravest of people can be reduced to nothing with threats against their loved ones and friends.
According to the U.N., in the first eight months of 2014, ISIS killed 9,347 Syrian and Iraqi civilians and wounded 17,386. ISIS targeted any and all religious minorities, but the majority were Muslims. By now the number may be 30,000 killed but nobody really knows the number for sure. Suicide bombings have killed mostly Muslims so "ordinary" Muslims are terrified far more than we are. Wouldn't you be? If you are of the Shia sect, a radical Sunni may bomb your Mosque as you worship and vice versa. The sectarian violence between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims has claimed tens of thousands of Muslim lives since Islam split into the Shia and Sunni sects centuries ago. Sectarian violence is nothing new. Europe had a horrific period of sectarian wars (1524-1648) which began around the Reformation. An estimated 7.8 million people perished between 1618 and 1648 alone. It was a true holocaust ignited by religious strife. In that same period of sectarian violence, Protestants burned alive 40,000 to 60,000 people for not being properly Christian.
So where are the moderate Muslims that dare speak out? Since 9/11 there have been over 100 Fatwas issued against terrorism. A Fatwa is a legal pronouncement issued by an expert or experts in Islamic law.
Due to limitations I can't list all of the important Fatwas and declarations against terrorism but I will present some examples. The latest major Fatwa was issued last week when almost 70,000 Muslim clerics (like pastors) came together to pass a Fatwa against global terrorist organizations including the Taliban, al-Qaida and ISIS. According to The Times of India, almost 1.5 million attendees signed a document protesting global terrorist activity at the annual gathering of South Asian Sunni Muslims. This year, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, along with 37 other Muslim leaders of various sects across Canada issued a Fatwa from Calgary condemning followers of ISIS as non-Muslims. Last year more than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world wrote an open letter to the "fighters and followers" of ISIS and denounced them as un-Islamic. On September 11, 2013, 165 Somali religious leaders concluded a five-day National Conference on Extremism in Mogadishu by issuing a fatwa condemning al-Shabaab.
In 2013, Muslim Scholars of the Sunni Ittehad Council in Pakistan issued a collective Fatwa against suicide bombings, the killing of innocents, bombings, and targeted killings declaring them as forbidden. In 2011, the 512 page "Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings" was published by Minhaj-ul-Quran Publications declaring terrorism and suicide bombings are unjust and evil. In 2008, 6,000 Ulama Islamic scholars in India endorsed a Fatwa that declared that all forms of terrorism are against the spirit of Islam. In 2005. Spanish Muslims proclaimed a fatwa against Osama Bin Laden. Issued by Mansur Escudero Bedate, secretary general of the Islamic Commission of Spain, it decrees that Bin Laden and "his" al-Qaida had abandoned their religion and should thus be called "al-Qaida terrorists" without using the adjective "Islamic". Also in 2005, the Fiqh Council of North America, issued a Fatwa against providing support to "terrorist" groups that make up their own rules by unjustifiably referring to Islam.
The facts are not going to influence bigots much but most will see that the ordinary Muslim is just as horrified as we are by the violence. They have suffered far more than we have. Happy Holidays, Anna, and I hope you soon have your hair covered as commanded in 1 Corinthians 11:6.