Islamic Statements Against Terrorism
Mustafa Mashhur, General Guide, Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt; Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Pakistan; Muti 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 (via archive.org).
Arabic original in al-Quds al-Arabi (London), September 14, 2001, p. 2 (via archive.org).
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.
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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
‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“Firstly: the recent developments in the United States including hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood, constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts. Secondly: any Muslim who is aware of the teachings of his religion and who adheres to the directives of the Holy Qur’an and the sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) will never involve himself in such acts, because they will invoke the anger of God Almighty and lead to harm and corruption on earth.”
Statement of September 15, 2001 (via archive.org).
‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“You must know Islam’s firm position against all these terrible crimes. The world must know that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy and goodness; it is a religion of justice and guidance…Islam has forbidden violence in all its forms. It forbids the hijacking airplanes, ships and other means of transport, and it forbids all acts that undermine the security of the innocent.”
Hajj sermon of February 2, 2004, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).
Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“As a human community we must be vigilant and careful to oppose these pernicious and shameless evils, which are not justified by any sane logic, nor by the religion of Islam.”
Statement of September 14, 2001, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 6 (via archive.org).
Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“And I repeat once again: that this act that the United states was afflicted with, with this vulgarity and barbarism, and which is even more barbaric than terrorist acts, I say that these acts are from the depths of depravity and the worst of evils.”
Televised statement of September 2001, in Muhammad ibn Hussin Al-Qahtani, editor, The Position of Saudi Muslim Scholars Regarding Terrorism in the Name of Islam (Saudi Arabia, 2004), pages 27-28.
Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdallah al-Sabil, member of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Saudi Arabia:
“Any attack on innocent people is unlawful and contrary to shari’a (Islamic law). … Muslims must safeguard the lives, honor and property of Christians and Jews. Attacking them contradicts shari’a.”
Agence France Presse, December 4, 2001
Council of Saudi ‘Ulama, fatwa of February 2003:
“What is happening in some countries from the shedding of the innocent blood and the bombing of buildings and ships and the destruction of public and private installations is a criminal act against Islam. … Those who carry out such acts have the deviant beliefs and misleading ideologies and are responsible for the crime. Islam and Muslims should not be held responsible for such actions.”
The Dawn newspaper, Karachi, Pakistan, February 8, 2003 (via archive.org); also in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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.
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
League of Arab States:
“The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities. These terrorist crimes have been viewed by the League as inadmissible and deserving all condemnation. Divergence of views between the Arabs and the United States over the latter’s foreign policy on the Middle East crisis does in no way adversely affect the common Arab attitude of compassion with the people and government of the United States at such moments of facing the menace and ruthlessness of international terrorism. In more than one statement released since the horrendous attacks, the League has also expressed deep sympathy with the families of the victims. In remarks to newsmen immediately following the tragic events, Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa described the feelings of the Arab world as demonstrably sympathetic with the American people, particularly with families and individuals who lost their loved ones. “It is indeed tormenting that any country or people or city anywhere in the world be the scene of such disastrous attacks,” he added. While convinced that it is both inconceivable and lamentable that such a large-scale, organised terrorist campaign take place anywhere, anytime, the League believes that the dreadful attacks against WTC and the Pentagon unveil, time and again, that the cancer of terrorism can be extensively damaging if left unchecked. It follows that there is a pressing and urgent need to combat world terrorism. In this context, an earlier call by [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak for convening an international conference to draw up universal accord on ways and means to eradicate this phenomenon and demonstrate international solidarity is worthy of active consideration. The Arabs have walked a large distance in the fight against cross-border terrorism by concluding in April 1998 the Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism.”
September 17, 2001.
Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference:
“Following the bloody attacks against major buildings and installations in the United States yesterday, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), stated that he was shocked and deeply saddened when he heard of those attacks which led to the death and injury of a very large number of innocent American citizens. Dr. Belkeziz said he was denouncing and condemning those criminal and brutal acts that ran counter to all covenants, humanitarian values and divine religions foremost among which was Islam.”
Press Release, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 12, 2001.
Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers:
“The Conference strongly condemned the brutal terror acts that befell the United States, caused huge losses in human lives from various nationalities and wreaked tremendous destruction and damage in New York and Washington. It further reaffirmed that these terror acts ran counter to the teachings of the divine religions as well as ethical and human values, stressed the necessity of tracking down the perpetrators of these acts in the light of the results of investigations and bringing them to justice to inflict on them the penalty they deserve, and underscored its support of this effort. In this respect, the Conference expressed its condolences to and sympathy with the people and government of the United States and the families of the victims in these mournful and tragic circumstances.”
Final Communique of the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, October 10, 2001.
Organization of the Islamic Conference, Summit Conference:
“We are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms. … Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance.”
Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon), December 9, 2005.
Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, Head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey:
“Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.”
Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, “A Message on Ragaib Night and Terrorism,” September 21, 2001 (via archive.org).
Fethullah Gülen, Turkish religious leader:
“I would like to make it very clear that any terrorist activity, no matter by whom it is carried out or for what purpose, is the greatest blow to peace, democracy, and humanity. For this reason, no one—and certainly no Muslim—can approve of any terrorist activity. Terror has no place in a quest to achieve independence or salvation. It takes the lives of innocent people.”
Zaman (Istanbul, Turkey), September 12, 2001. (English translation.)
Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar), Turkish author:
“The religion of Islam can by no means countenance terrorism. On the contrary, terror (i.e. murder of innocent people) in Islam is a great sin, and Muslims are responsible for preventing these acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.”
Harun Yahya, Islam Denounces Terrorism.
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” (via archive.org).
Abdal-Hakim Murad, British Muslim author:
“Targeting civilians is a negation of every possible school of Sunni Islam. Suicide bombing is so foreign to the Quranic ethos that the Prophet Samson is entirely absent from our scriptures.”
“The Hijackers Were Not Muslims After All: Recapturing Islam From the Terrorists” (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
57 leaders of North American Islamic organizations, 77 intellectuals, and dozens of concerned citizens:
“As American Muslims and scholars of Islam, we wish to restate our conviction that peace and justice constitute the basic principles of the Muslim faith. We wish again to state unequivocally that neither the al-Qaeda organization nor Usama bin Laden represents Islam or reflects Muslim beliefs and practice. Rather, groups like al-Qaeda have misused and abused Islam in order to fit their own radical and indeed anti-Islamic agenda. Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s actions are criminal, misguided and counter to the true teachings of Islam.”
Statement Rejecting Terrorism, September 9, 2002 (via archive.org).
American Muslim Political Coordination Council:
“American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
Full-page ad in The Washington Post, September 16, 2001 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org).
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 (via archive.org), and interview of October 22, 2001 (via archive.org).
Muslims Against Terrorism, a U.S.-based organization:
“As Muslims, we condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Ours is a religion of peace. We are sick and tired of extremists dictating the public face of Islam.”
“About us” (via archive.org). This statement was replaced by a new statement in favor of peace by the group’s successor organization, Muslim Voices for Peace (via archive.org).
Abdulaziz Sachedina, professor of religious studies, University of Virginia:
“New York was grieving. Sorrow covered the horizons. The pain of separation and of missing family members, neighbors, citizens, humans could be felt in every corner of the country. That day was my personal day of “jihad” (“struggle”) — jihad with my pride and my identity as a Muslim. This is the true meaning of jihad — “struggle with one’s own ego and false pride.” I don’t ever recall that I had prayed so earnestly to God to spare attribution of such madness that was unleashed upon New York and Washington to the Muslims. I felt the pain and, perhaps for the first time in my entire life, I felt embarrassed at the thought that it could very well be my fellow Muslims who had committed this horrendous act of terrorism. How could these terrorists invoke God’s mercifulness and compassion when they had, through their evil act, put to shame the entire history of this great religion and its culture of toleration?”
“Where Was God on September 11?” (via archive.org).
Ali Khan, professor of law, Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas:
“To the most learned in the text of the Quran, these verses must be read in the context of many other verses that stipulate the Islamic law of war—a war that the Islamic leader must declare after due consultation with advisers. For the less learned, however, these verses may provide the motivation and even the plot for a merciless strike against a self-chosen enemy.”
“Attack on America: An Islamic Perspective,” September 17, 2001 (via archive.org).
Muqtedar Khan, then an assistant professor of political science, Adrian College, Michigan:
“What happened on September 11th in New York and Washington DC will forever remain a horrible scar on the history of Islam and humanity. No matter how much we condemn it, and point to the Quran and the Sunnah to argue that Islam forbids the killing of innocent people, the fact remains that the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have indicated that their actions are sanctioned by Islamic values. The fact that even now several Muslim scholars and thousands of Muslims defend the accused is indicative that not all Muslims believe that the attacks are unIslamic. This is truly sad. … If anywhere in your hearts there is any sympathy or understanding with those who committed this act, I invite you to ask yourself this question, would Muhammad (pbuh) sanction such an act? While encouraging Muslims to struggle against injustice (Al Quran 4:135), Allah also imposes strict rules of engagement. He says in unequivocal terms that to kill an innocent being is like killing entire humanity (Al Quran 5:32). He also encourages Muslims to forgive Jews and Christians if they have committed injustices against us (Al Quran 2:109, 3:159, 5:85).”
“A Memo to American Muslims,” October 5, 2001.
Dr. Alaa Al-Yousuf, Bahraini economist and political activist:
“On Friday, 14 September [the first Friday prayers after 11 September], almost the whole world expressed its condemnation of the crime and its grief for the bereaved families of the victims. Those who abstained or, even worse, rejoiced, will have joined the terrorists, not in the murder, but in adding to the incalculable damage on the other victims of the atrocity, namely, Islam as a faith, Muslims and Arabs as peoples, and possibly the Palestinian cause. The terrorists and their apologists managed to sully Islam as a faith both in the eyes of many Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
Interview with the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue, London (via archive.org).
Dr. S. Parvez Manzoor, Swedish-based Muslim author:
“If these acts of terror indeed have been perpetrated by Muslim radicals or fundamentalists, they have reaped nothing but eternal damnation, shame and ignominy. For nothing, absolutely nothing, could remotely be advanced as an excuse for these barbaric acts. They represent a total negation of Islamic values, an utter disregard of our fiqhi tradition, and a slap in the face of the Ummah. They are in total contrast to what Islamic reason, compassion and faith stand for. Even from the more mundane criteria of common good, the maslaha of the jurists, these acts are treasonous and suicidal. Islamic faith has been so callously and casually sacrificed at the altar of politics, a home-grown politics of parochial causes, primeval passions, self-endorsing piety and messianic terror.”
Interview with the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue, London (via archive.org).
Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Islamic activist and former deputy prime minister:
“Never in Islam’s entire history has the action of so few of its followers caused the religion and its community of believers to be such an abomination in the eyes of others. Millions of Muslims who fled to North America and Europe to escape poverty and persecution at home have become the object of hatred and are now profiled as potential terrorists. And the nascent democratic movements in Muslim countries will regress for a few decades as ruling autocrats use their participation in the global war against terrorism to terrorize their critics and dissenters. This is what Mohammed Atta and his fellow terrorists and sponsors have done to Islam and its community worldwide by their murder of innocents at the World Trade Center in New York and the Defense Depart-ment in Washington. The attack must be condemned, and the condemnation must be without reservation.”
Anwar Ibrahim, “Growth of Democracy Is the Answer to Terrorism,” International Herald Tribune, October 11, 2001 (via archive.org).
Ziauddin Sardar, British Muslim author:
“The failure of Islamic movements is their inability to come to terms with modernity, to give modernity a sustainable home-grown expression. Instead of engaging with the abundant problems that bedevil Muslim lives, the Islamic prescription consists of blind following of narrow pieties and slavish submission to inept obscurantists. Instead of engagement with the wider world, they have made Islam into an ethic of separation, separate under-development, and negation of the rest of the world.”
Ziauddin Sardar, “Islam has become its own enemy,” The Observer, October 21, 2001.
Khaled Abou El Fadl, Kuwaiti-Egyptian-American legal scholar:
“It would be disingenuous to deny that the Qur’an and other Islamic sources offer possibilities of intolerant interpretation. Clearly these possibilities are exploited by the contemporary puritans and supremacists. But the text does not command such intolerant readings. Historically, Islamic civilization has displayed a remarkable ability to recognize possibilities of tolerance, and to act upon these possibilities.”
Khaled Abou El Fadl, “The Place of Tolerance in Islam: On Reading the Qur’an — and Misreading It,” Boston Review, December 2001/January 2002 (via archive.org).
Sheikh Muhammad Ali Al-Hanooti, Palestinian-American mufti and member of the North American Fiqh Council:
“The people who attacked the WTC and Pentagon and hijacked the forth plane that crashed in Pennsylvania are criminal who deserve the severest punishment as the Quran elaborates. They are murderers and terrorists. If there were any person who felt happy for that incident we would not be able to equate them with those criminals, but we can say no one with faith and ethics would accept anything of that murder and targeting of innocent people.”
Sheikh Muhammad Ali Al-Hanooti, “Fatwa Session on Latest Tragic Events,” IslamOnline, September 20, 2001 (via archive.org).
Syed Shahabuddin, Indian Muslim author:
“Islam prohibits terrorism as well as suicide. Jihad is neither and has no place for taking innocent lives or one’s own life. No cause, howsoever noble or just, can justify terrorism. So while one may sympathize with the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support their claim to a state of their own, while one may appreciate the democratic awakening among the people of many Muslim states and uphold their demand for withdrawal of foreign presence from their soil and support their struggle for revision of the terms of trade for their natural resources, no thinking Muslim can go along with the use of terrorism for securing political goals.”
Syed Shahabuddin, “Global war against terrorism – the Islamic dimension,” Milli Gazette newspaper (New Delhi, India), November 1, 2001.
Dr. M. A. Zaki Badawi, principal of the Muslim College, London, England:
“Neither the law of Islam nor its ethical system justify such a crime.”
Dr. M. A. Zaki Badawi, “Terrorism has no place in Islam,” Arab News (Jiddah-Riyadh-Dhahran, Saudi Arabia), September 28, 2001 (via archive.org).
Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, head mufti at Jamiat-ul-Uloom-ul-Islamia seminary, Binori Town, Pakistan and a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party, Pakistan:
“It’s wrong to kill innocent people. … It’s also wrong to praise those who kill innocent people.”
The New York Times, September 28, 2001, p. B3.
Shaykh Omar Bakri, leader of al-Muhajirun, a radical Islamist movement then based in London, England:
“If Islamists did it — and most likely it is Islamists, because of the nature of what happened — then they have fully misunderstood the teachings of Islam. … Even the most radical of us have condemned this. I am always considered to be a radical in the Islamic world and even I condemn it.”
The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), September 13, 2001, p. B6.
Zuhair Qudah, a preacher at al-Lawzieen mosque, Amman, Jordan:
“We stand by our Palestinian brothers in their struggle to end the occupation, but we don’t condone violence, ugly crimes and the killing of innocent people.”
Associated Press, September 14, 2001.
Salih bin Muhammad Lahidan, chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“Killing the weak, infants, women, and the elderly, and destroying property, are considered serious crimes in Islam. . . . Viewing on the TV networks what happened to the twin towers . . . was like watching doomsday. Those who commit such crimes are the worst of people. Anyone who thinks that any Islamic scholar will condone such acts is totally wrong. . . . This barbaric act is not justified by any sane mind-set. . . . This act is pernicious and shameless and evil in the extreme.”
The Washington Post, October 13, 2001, p. B9.
Shaykh Rached Ghannouchi, chairman of Tunisia’s an-Nahda Movement, in exile in London, England:
“Such destruction can only be condemned by any Muslim, however resentful one may be of America’s biased policies supporting occupation in Palestine, as an unacceptable attack on thousands of innocent people having no relation to American policies. Anyone familiar with Islam has no doubt about its rejection of collective punishment, based on the well-known Quranic principle that ‘no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another.'”
The Washington Post, October 13, 2001, p. B9
Shaykh Salih al-Suhaymi, religious scholar, Saudi Arabia:
“Based upon what has preceded, then we say that that which we believe and hold as our religion concerning what happened to the World Trade Centre in America – and in Allaah lies success – that the terrorist attacks that took place and what occurred of general (mass) killing, then it is not permissible and Islaam does not allow it in any form whatsoever.”
“Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee speaks about current affairs…,” October 18, 2001, translated by Abu ‘Iyaad.(via archive.org
Dr. Sayed G. Safavi, Iranian religious scholar and director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, London, England:
“The targeting of innocent persons cannot be allowed. Islam is against any form of terrorism, whether it be carried out by an individual, a group or a state. … For Muslims to kill civilians unconnected with any attack on them is a crime. The principal law of Islam is: don’t attack civilians. This includes civilians of any faith, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian. According to Islam, all people are the family of God. The target of religion is peace.”
“United against terrorism,” The Daily Telegraph, London, England, June 30, 2003.
Iqbal Siddiqui, editor of Crescent International, London, England:
“History also teaches us that the only effective way of challenging oppression and the only effective way of fighting injustice is through force; that is simply the way of the world. Pacifism is all too often a weapon of the status quo…. When Islamic movements in the world do need to resort to the use of force, that force must be used morally. When extreme fringes of those movements are pushed to use force indiscriminately, immorally, wrongly against illegitimate targets, and using illegitimate weapons (such [as] hijacked jumbo jets), those are crimes for which the people who share their cause, who share their view of the world, their understanding of the need to use force, must also criticise them, turn against them, isolate them. Our standards must be higher than those of the people whom we are fighting, because if we descend to their standards then there is no difference between us.”
Iqbal Siddiqui, “Terrorism and political violence in contemporary history,” Conference on Terrorism, Institute of Islamic Studies, London, England, November 13, 2001, published in Muslimedia International, February 16-28, 2002 (via archive.org). Earlier version also on-line via archive.org).
“The message of the Quran is clear as we have seen, that the sanctity of any human life is to be respected and any violation in that regard is paramount to the worst crime. Mercy is at the heart of the Islamic call, “We sent thee (O Muhammad) not save as a mercy for the peoples” (21:107); a totally different message to what the terrorists are sadly imparting to humanity.”
“What Does Islam Say About Terrorism?“
Islamic Commission of Spain:
“Muslims, therefore, are not only forbidden from committing crimes against innocent people, but are responsible before God to stop those people who have the intention to do so, since these people ‘are planting the seeds of corruption on Earth’…. The perpetration of terrorist acts supposes a rupture of such magnitude with Islamic teaching that it allows to affirm that the individuals or groups who have perpetrated them have stopped being Muslim and have put themselves outside the sphere of Islam.”
“Text of the Fatwa Declared Against Osama Bin Laden by the Islamic Commission of Spain,” March 17, 2005; original Spanish version: “La Comisión Islámica de España emite una fatua condenando el terrorismo y al grupo Al Qaida,” March 10, 2005.
The Amman Message, proclaimed by 200 Islamic scholars from 50 countries at a conference in Amman, Jordan, and later endorsed by hundreds of other Islamic scholars and the Organization of the Islamic Conference:
“Islam recognizes the noble station of [human] life, so there is to be no fighting against non-combatants, and no assault upon civilians and their properties, children at their mothers’ bosom, students in their schools, nor upon elderly men and women. Assault upon the life of a human being, be it murder, injury or threat, is an assault upon the right to life among all human beings. It is among the gravest of sins; for human life is the basis for the prosperity of humanity: Whoever kills a soul for other than slaying a soul or corruption upon the earth it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity, and whoever saves a life, it is as if has revived the whole of humanity. (5:32)”
The Official Website of the Amman Message, July 2005
Fatwa signed by more than 500 British Muslim scholars, clerics, and imams:
“Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives. There is neither place nor justification in Islam for extremism, fanaticism or terrorism. Suicide bombings, which killed and injured innocent people in London, are HARAAM – vehemently prohibited in Islam, and those who committed these barbaric acts in London [on July 7, 2005] are criminals not martyrs. Such acts, as perpetrated in London, are crimes against all of humanity and contrary to the teachings of Islam. … The Holy Quran declares: ‘Whoever kills a human being… then it is as though he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a human life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.’ (Quran, Surah al-Maidah (5), verse 32) Islam’s position is clear and unequivocal: Murder of one soul is the murder of the whole of humanity; he who shows no respect for human life is an enemy of humanity.”
British Muslim Forum, press release of July 18, 2005 (via archive.org).
Fiqh Council of North America, an association of 18 Muslim legal scholars, fatwa endorsed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and more than 130 Muslim organizations, mosques and leaders in the United States:
“We have consistently condemned terrorism and extremism in all forms and under all circumstances, and we reiterate this unequivocal position. Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – prohibited in Islam – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not ‘martyrs.'”
“Fatwa by U.S. Muslims Against Religious Extremism,” July 25, 2005 (via archive.org).
Islamic Society of North America, Anti-Terrrorism Anti-Extremism Committee:
“Humanity lives today in an interdependent and interconnected world where peaceful and fair interaction, including interfaith and intra-faith dialogue, is imperative. A grave threat to all of us nowadays is the scourge of religious and political extremism that manifests itself in various forms of violence, including terrorism. In the absence of a universally agreed upon definition of terrorism, it may be defined as any act of indiscriminate violence that targets innocent people, whether committed by individuals, groups or states. As Muslims, we must face up to our responsibility to clarify and advocate a faith-based, righteous and moral position with regard to this problem, especially when terrorist acts are perpetrated in the name of Islam. The purpose of this brochure is to clarify a few key issues relating to this topic, not because of external pressures or for the sake of “political correctness”, but out of our sincere conviction of what Islam stands for.”
Islamic Society of North America, “Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism: Muslim Position and Responsibilities,” 2005 (via archive.org).
Shaykh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
The London attacks, “targeting peaceful people, are not condoned by Islam, and are indeed prohibited by our religion. … Attributing to Islam acts of individual or collective killings, bombings, destruction of properties and the terrorizing of peaceful people is unfair, because they are alien to the divine religion.”
>Fatwa-Online, July 9, 2005 (via archive.org).
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab al-‘Aqeel, professor of creed (‘aqeedah) at the College of Proselytising (da’wah), Islamic University of Madinah, Saudi Arabia:
“Terrorism is the terror that is caused by those groups or individuals who resort to killing and wreaking havoc and destruction. Terrorism is therefore, according to the contemporary compilers of modern Arabic dictionaries, killing akin to the riotous killing that is mentioned within the texts of Shar’eeah. As the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) mentioned with regards to the signs of the end of time, the spread of ‘al-Harj’ (riotous killing). The meaning of ‘al-Harj’ is killing and the increase of the spilling blood, which is all from the signs of the end of time. To the extent that the one killing will not know why he is killing and the one that was killed will not know why he/she was killed. Islam is free from this riotous killing, free from this terrorism and free from this kind of corruption. Terrorism is established upon destruction of properties such as factories, farms, places of worship, train stations, airports and the likes; Islam is clearly free from such actions that are based upon corruption and not upon rectification. Terrorists usually say that they are going against the state in which they are based within. This is like the mafia or other criminal organisations that are based on killing people, causing fear and taking their monies. Such criminal organisations have leaders, deputies and individuals that are responsible for establishing regulations for the organisation and individuals responsible for carrying out attacks, and all of them are terrorists causing corruption on the earth. However the ugliest face of terrorism is that which is established in the name of religion, all of the religions from the Prophets (peace be upon them) are free from such terrorism, even if some of the followers of the Prophets participated in such terrorist activities, but the Prophets are free from such corruptions.”
Lecture on “The Evils of Terrorism,” August 20, 2005, translated in “Islam Against Terrorism – v1.20,” September 17, 2005 (via archive.org).
Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, Malaysian Muslim scholar and research fellow in Islamic philosophy and theology, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, U.K.:
“If you still insist that your [religious or civil] authority should declare war with the non-Muslim state upon which you wish war to be declared, then the most you could do in this capacity is to lobby your authority for it. However, if your anger is so unrestrained that its fire brings out the worst in you to the point that your disagreement with your Muslim authority leads you to declare war on those you want your authority to declare war on, and you end up resorting to violence, then know with certainty that you have violated our own religious Laws. For then you will have taken the Shari’a into your own hands.”
Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, Defending the Transgressed by Censuring the Reckless against the Killing of Civilians, Germany: Warda Publications, and United Kingdom: Aqsa Press, 2005, p.49.
Abd al-Hakim Murad, British Muslim scholar:
“This is a decadence that is profound. And that it happens in the holy land is particularly worrying. Near the muqadsāt, where we are particularly required to conform entirely to the adāb of the Shari’ah. This is a deep subversion. And as for those who think that for reasons of masfahah that the door can be opened there, but somehow that door will remain closed elsewhere in the world, that this door can be opened because the Palestinians are so oppressed and somehow it’s going to help them, but of course we keep it closed in Chechnya and Kahsmir and certainly in London, that logic doesn’t seem to have worked too well. That rage, that desire to self annihilation, to lash out and the men, women and children, whoever in the vicinity, is now becoming a global epidemic. And the ‘ulama who opened the little door now see these legions rushing through it in every place don’t know what to do about it. That door has to be closed. Islam is too good for such practices, for such baseness, for such wild expression of futility and despair and vindictiveness.”
Interview, December 16-18, 2005, London-Leeds-Manchester (via archive.org).
Islamic Society of North America:
“The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) condemns in the strongest terms the recent acts of terrorism in Glasgow, London and Yemen. We reaffirm our long-standing, unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism and all acts of violence committed against the innocent, and our denunciation of religious extremism and particularly the use of Islam to justify terrorism in any of its forms. We sympathize with the victims of these senseless attacks and offer our heart-felt condolences to the families who have lost their dear ones.”
“Islamic Society of North America Statement in Response to Recent Bombings,” July 10, 2007 (via archive.org).
Maulana Marghubur Rahman, organizer of “Anti-Terrorism Convention” and rector of the Dar ul-Ulum Deoband madrasa, India:
“We condemn all forms of terrorism … and in this we make no distinction. Terrorism is completely wrong, no matter who engages in it, and no matter what religion he follows or community he belongs to.”
February 2008, translated by Yoginder Sikand.
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, Pakistan:
“[T]he killing of Muslims and the perpetration of terrorism are not only unlawful and forbidden in Islam but also represent the rejection of faith.”
Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism, March 2, 2010, (via archive.org).
New Mardin Declaration, Turkey:
“Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa concerning Mardin can under no circumstances be appropriated and used as evidence for leveling the charge of kufr (unbelief) against fellow Muslims, rebelling against rulers, deeming game their lives and property, terrorizing those who enjoy safety and security, acting treacherously towards those who live (in harmony) with fellow Muslims or with whom fellow Muslims live (in harmony) via the bond of citizenship and peace.”
The New Mardin Declaration, March 28, 2010 (via archive.org in English and Arabic).
More statements are released by Muslim organizations and religious scholars on a regular basis, but multiplying the examples may not persuade those who dismiss these dozens of examples.
Other collections of Islamic statements against terrorism
Heraa Hashmi, Ire Aderinokun, and Timi Ajiboye, “Muslims Condemn.”
Sheila Musaji, “Muslims Denounce Terrorism: Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism.”
Omid Safi, “Scholars of Islam & the Tragedy of Sept. 11th.
Tim Lubin, Washington and Lee University, “Islamic Responses to the Sept. 11 Attack.”
The Becket Fund, “Osama Bin Laden Hijacked Four Airplanes and a Religion,” October 17, 2001 (via archive.org).
Islam for Today, “Muslims Against Terrorism.”
ReligiousTolerance.org, “Aftermath of the 9-11 Terrorist Attack: Voices of Moderate Muslims.”
Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Pages, “Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks.”
Juan Cole, “Friedman Wrong About Muslims Again,” July 9, 2005.
Fatwa-Online, “Islaam Against Terrorism.”
Links updated September 21, 2020.