(OTTAWA, CANADA) - The Canadian office of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR CAN) and the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association
(CMCLA) today denounced a series of recent statements made by Osama bin
Laden and his al-Qaeda network that state that Muslims should wage a
"jihad" against Americans.
In a joint statement endorsed by prominent Canadian Islamic scholars
Badawi, Imam Munir El-Kassem, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty), the two organizations wrote:
"Islam respects the sacredness of life, and rejects any express statement
or tacit insinuation that Muslims should harm innocent people. Despite our
disagreement with certain American policies, we must never abuse the
concept of Jihad to target innocent civilians.
"Jihad, which literally means 'struggle,' has an internal, societal
combative dimension. The internal dimension of Jihad encompasses the
struggle against the evil inclinations of the self, and the spiritual
project to adorn the self with virtues such as justice, mercy, generosity
and gentleness. The societal dimension includes struggling against social
injustice and creating a communal identity based on charity, respect and
equality. Finally, the combative aspect of jihad is only to be used as
self-defense against aggression or to fight oppression, and, even then, to
be observed with strict limits of conduct that preserves the life of
innocents and the sanctity of the environment. Moreover, this latter type
of Jihad can only be declared by a legitimate, recognized religious authority.
"Using the concept of Jihad to justify harming the innocent is contrary
the letter and spirit of Islam. We condemn any violence that springs from
this misguided interpretation."
CONTACT: Riad Saloojee at 613-798-0003
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003