If Muslims are so Moderate, Why Don’t They Speak out Against Terrorism?

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow

(al-Ustadh al-Duktur Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam)

Why don’t Muslims speak out against terrorism? It is as much a question as it is a statement. It implies that Muslims do not denounce terrorism because they implicitly support it. This is a logical fallacy. According to the New America Foundation, white, right-wing, so-called Christian extremists have killed more than twice as many Americans on US soil than so-called Muslim Jihadists. I have never heard Caucasian, Christian, Americans speak out against white supremacist terrorism. I don’t expect them to.

Asking Muslims if they support ISIS is as idiotic as asking white Christians if they support the Crusades, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Genocide of Native Americans under the name of Christ as Manifest Destiny, the Genocide of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, the Spanish Inquisition, Western colonialism and imperialism, the Salem Witch Trials, segregation, Jim Crow, the lynching of over 5000 African Americans by “good God-fearing Christian,” the Biblically-justified apartheid in South Africa, the KKK and other white Christian supremacists, the Serbian Orthodox Christians who attempted to exterminate the Muslims and Catholics in the former Yugoslavia, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda that has butchered 100,000 people in the name of Christ, or the Christian militias in the Central African Republic that are exterminating and cannibalizing Muslims. I know full-well that no true Christian would support such inhumanity. 

Although some Christians are ill-intentioned, most are simply ill-informed. In fact, according to a Brookings Poll, 40% of Americans believe that most Muslims oppose ISIS; 14% think most Muslims support ISIS, and 44% believe Muslims are evenly balanced on the issue.

Support for ISIS in the Muslim World – Perceptions vs Reality
Support for ISIS in the Muslim World – Perceptions vs Reality

The fact of the matter is that Muslims speak out. Muslims scream and shout. As a minority that makes up merely 1% of the US population, it is hard for Muslims to get heard.

How many people have heard of ISNA’s Muslim Code of Honor? It denounces extremism and violence.

How many people have heard of the Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Bombing? Issued by Dr. Muhammad Tahir al-Qadri in 2010, it states that “Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it.” In 2014, he asserted that: “The ISIS ideology is disbelief in Islam. It is anti-Islam; against the teachings of the prophet of Islam.”

How many people have heard of the Covenants Initiative? Inspired by The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, this international movement of Muslims is committed to protecting persecuted Jews, Christians and Muslims, and has been at the forefront of the ideological war against ISIS.

How many people have heard of Bin Bayyah’s fatwa? In September of 2014, Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, one of the most influential scholars in Sunni Islam, passed a lengthy fatwa condemning ISIS.

How many people have heard of the Letter to Baghdadi? Released in September of 2014, is a meticulously detailed refutation of ISIS. It was signed by over one hundred of Islam’s leading scholars and personally directed to the leader of the fake Islamic State.

How many people have heard of the Amman Message? Issued in November 2014, and signed by 200 Islamic scholars from over 50 countries, it calls for tolerance in the Muslim world. 

How many people have heard the statement from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation? Released in 2014, it declares that the Islamic State has “nothing to do with Islam” and has committed crimes “that cannot be tolerated.” 

How many people have heard of the fatwa from al-Azhar? Issued in 2014, it states that ISIS is “a danger to Islam.” 

How many people have heard of the Statement from the Arab League? Released in 2014, it denounces the “crimes against humanity” carried out by ISIS. 

How many people have heard of the fatwa that was passed by Turkey’s top cleric, Mufti Mehmet Gormez? Issued in 2014, it states that ISIS is “hugely damaging” to Islam and Muslims. 

How many people have heard of the condemnations made against ISIS by CAIR? Since 2014, they have repeatedly condemned ISIS as “Un-Islamic and morally repugnant.” 

How many people have heard of the declaration made by the Muslim Council of Great Britain? Released in 2014, it affirms that “violence has no place in religion.” 

How many people have heard of the fatwa published by the Fiqh Council of the Islamic Society of North America? Issued in 2014, and signed by 126 leading Muslim scholars, it asserts that the actions of ISIS are in no way representative of the teachings of Islam. 

How many people have heard of the Joint Sunni-Shiite Fatwa issued by 100 U.K. Imams? Released in 2014, it describes ISIS as an “illegitimate” and “vicious group.” 

How many people have heard of the statement issued by the Muslim Public Affairs Council? Published in 2014, it condemns ISIS and calls upon Muslim to “stand against extremism.” 

How many people have heard of Nahdlatul Ulama? It is the largest Islamic organization in the world, representing 50 million Indonesian Muslims. In 2014, the NU launched a global campaign against extremism and Wahhabism. 

How many people have heard of Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqubi thoughts on ISIS? In an interview conducted in 2014, he asserted that “ISIS has no nationality. Its nationality is terror, savagery, and hatred.” Furthermore, he asserted that “Baghdadi is going to hell.”

In 2015, Shaykh al-Yaqubi published a lecture titled Refuting ISIS: A Rebuttal of its Religious and Ideological Foundations? In his booklet, he states that ISIS constitutes the most serious threat that Islam has ever faced. 

How many people have heard of the jihad that was declared by the Muslim Youth Group in the UK in 2015? They declared that groups like ISIS have “no link with Islam or the Muslim community.” 

How many people have heard of the mass fatwa against ISIS? Issued in December of 2015, it has been signed by over 100,000 Muslim clerics from India, Bangladesh, and beyond, and endorsed by millions of Muslims. 

How many people have heard of the Marrakesh Declaration? Issued in 2016, and signed by hundreds of major Muslim leaders, it expresses their collective commitment to the cause of human, civil, religious, and minority rights in Muslim countries.

Last but not least, how many people have heard of the Grozny Declaration which excommunicated the Salafi-Takfiris?  A group fatwa issued in Chechnya in 2016 by, among others, the Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar, the Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, explicitly declared that “Salafi-Takfirists, Daesh (the so-called ‘Islamic State’) and similar extremist groups” were “not Muslim”.

I can assert with confidence, dismay, and despair, that 99% of non-Muslims have never heard of these efforts. And though millions of Muslims have participated in them, countless millions more have never heard of them. This ignorance is a scandal.

The Pew Research Center, the Washington Institute, ORB International, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and Zogby all confirm that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are opposed to ISIS.

Support for ISIS in the Muslim World)

I call upon all Muslims who oppose to ISIS, particularly those with sufficient resources to influence the mass media, to dedicate themselves to the publication of these and all other Muslim struggles against Daesh and their co-conspirators to the four corners of the earth. I also call upon our non-Muslim brothers and sisters to share this information with their family, friends, and communities. Millions upon millions have spoken out. It is up to all of us to spread the word.

Dr. John Andrew Morrow is an Amerindian Muslim leader and a proud member of the Métis Nation. After embracing Islam at the age of 16, he became both a Western academic and a traditional Muslim scholar. He is the author of a large body of scholarly works, the most influential of which is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World.

His websites include www.covenantsoftheprophet.com and www.johnandrewmorrow.com.

His videos and lectures can be found on The Covenants of the Prophet Channel on YouTube. His Facebook accounts include @johnandrewmorrow and @covenantsoftheprophet. He can be followed on Twitter @drjamorrow.

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The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow is constructed around covenants that the Prophet concluded with various Christian communities of his time, which Prof. Morrow has discovered in obscure monasteries, collections, and book out of print for centuries, in some cases newly translating them into English, as well as providing cogent arguments for their validity. They uniformly state that Muslims are not to attack peaceful Christian communities, rob them, stop churches from being repaired, tear down churches to build mosques, prevent their Christian wives from going to church and taking spiritual direction from Christian priests and elders, etc. On the contrary, the Prophet commands Muslims to actively protect these communities “until the End of the World”.

With the publication of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World we may in fact be witnessing—unexpectedly, miraculously, at this extremely late date—the emergence of a third foundational source for Islam in addition to Qur’an and hadith: the application of western methods of textual and historical research to the documents composed by the Prophet himself during his lifetime. These documents—letters, covenants, treaties etc.—though known to a few scholars for many centuries, have been largely neglected by both traditional Muslim and modern western scholarship, and are virtually unknown to the mass of believers.

One of the most valuable contributions of this work is that it represents a comprehensive treasury of rare, ancient, Islamic sources, many of which have been quite difficult to obtain. Rather than spend their time scouring European and Middle Eastern archives, scholars will now have all the sources they need to conduct further studies on the Covenants and advance our knowledge in this fascinating field. Not only has Dr. Morrow included the original primary sources in Arabic and Persian, he has provided corrected versions of most of these in modern Arabic typescript, along with a wide variety of translations for the purpose of comparative analysis.

Consequently, the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World represents a necessary and foundational resource and source of reference for all subsequent studies. And now that we are witness to widespread Islamicist violence against Christians in places like Syria and Egypt—often perpetrated by groups fighting as proxies for the United States and Israel—It is nothing short of providential that The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World should see the light of day at this precise historical moment.

John Andrew Morrow was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1971. He received his doctorate from the University of Toronto where he acquired expertise in Hispanic, Native, and Islamic Studies. He has served as a faculty member and administrator at numerous colleges and universities, the most notable of which was the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program for which he taught Spanish, English, and Religious Studies while circumnavigating the globe.

Dr. Morrow had authored and edited a wide body of books in various fields. In the area of Islamic Studies, his works include: Arabic, Islam, and the Allah Lexicon: How Language Shapes our Conception of God (Edwin Mellen, 2006), the Encyclopedia of Islamic Herbal Medicine (McFarland, 2011), Religion and Revolution: Spiritual and Political Islam in Ernesto Cardenal (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), Islamic Insights: Writings and Reviews (Ansariyan, 2012) and Islamic Images and Ideas: Essays on Sacred Symbolism (McFarland, 2013), among many others.