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Not representatives of Muslims

/ 12:16 AM June 17, 2016

AS THE Muslim faithful around the world fast during the holy month of Ramadan, fulfilling a pillar of Islam, a time for spiritual introspection has been shattered, and our peace disrupted by the acts of deranged men.

On June 12, 2016, an American Muslim man, Omar Mateen of Florida, went on a hate-filled rampage killing 49 people and injuring over 50 others. After gunning down hapless victims, Mateen called 911 and claimed allegiance to the Islamic State.

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Meanwhile in Jolo, Sulu, our corner of the world, the Abu Sayyaf viciously ended the life of a Canadian, one of its kidnapped victims, and callously threw his remains in front of the local cathedral, at the heart of the town. The Abu Sayyaf is reportedly drawing influence from foreign extremist groups.

The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy condemns the acts, and offers condolences to the families of the slain. There is no possible justification for such heinous acts. The Koran forbids murder: “…if any one slew a person—unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Surah 5:32)

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1325)

The non-Muslim world, already reeling from the terrorist attacks in the United States, Europe and Australia, are even more horrified by these cold-blooded incidents. We pray that Muslims and Islam will not again be blamed for the insanity of one aberrant individual or for the lawless acts of a gang of criminals.

American Muslim leaders and civil society organizations strongly decry the bloody massacre in Florida. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement, saying “We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

The Canadian prime minister condemns the gruesome slaying of its national, stating “The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death. Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder.”

We echo the thoughts of Nihad Awad, executive director and founder of CAIR, who called the IS “an aberration.” We, advocates for peace who constitute the majority of Muslims, echo his words and say with complete conviction: “You do not speak for us. You do not represent us.”

—AMINA RASUL BERNARDO, Philippine Center For Islam and Democracy, [email protected]

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TAGS: feedback, Isis, Islam, letter, Letter to the Editor, Muslim, Omar Mateen, opinion, Ramadan, terror, terrorism
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