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Ahmadi Muslim leader condemns terror against Israelis
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Ahmadi Muslim leader condemns terror against Israelis as distortion of Islam

 

Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Odeh, leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Holy Land:

"I visited the synagogue that was attacked in Jerusalem, and from the first moment, I felt a sense of anger because of this shameful act, which does not conform to our glorious Islam"  

[Ma'an (independent Palestinian news agency) Nov. 24, 2014]

 

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

 

Ahmadi Muslim religious leader, Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Odeh, who lives in Israel, condemned all the recent terror attacks carried out by Palestinians under the pretext of defending the Islamic holy sites, stating that they are a distortion of Islam. In an op-ed published in Ma'an, a private Palestinian news agency, he said that Muslims must "defend, first of all, the churches, houses of worship and monasteries of their fellow men, even before their own mosques."

 

Rejecting the statements of the PA and Fatah leadership, who have supported, defended and glorified the attacks, Odeh wrote:

 

"I assert that those people who are attempting to sanction this crime or incite to similar acts in the name of religion have no backing from the Quran."

 

He stated that crimes like the killings in the synagogue "contradict the principles of tolerance" in Islam:

 

"I visited the synagogue that was attacked in Jerusalem (i.e., in which five people were killed), and from the first moment, I felt a sense of anger because of this shameful act, which does not conform to our glorious Islam and contradicts its principles of tolerance. My condemnation of this crime arises from my understanding of and belief in glorious Islam..."

 

Note: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a relatively small branch of Islam that was founded at the end of the 19th century and has between 10 and 20 million followers. Many mainstream Muslims consider Ahmadis heretics and non-Muslim, and they have been subjected to persecution and oppression. Pakistan, for example, amended its Constitution to categorize them as non-Muslims and prohibits them from identifying as Muslims. There have been riots in Muslim countries in which Ahmadis were killed for their "heretic" beliefs.

 

Palestinian Media Watch has reported that although PA Chairman Abbas condemned the murders in the synagogue, Fatah officials have since explained his condemnation was insincere and a diplomatic necessity while Abbas' advisors have glorified the terrorists, endorsed their crimes and promoted more violence.

 

The following is a longer excerpt of the op-ed by Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Odeh, leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Holy Land, condemning murder in the name of Islam:

 

Op-ed by Sheikh Muhammad Sharif Odeh, leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Holy Land.

"When Allah, exalted be He, gave permission for the Muslims to fight, he did so in order that they might defend complete freedom of religion. He emphasized to them that it was their duty to defend, first of all, the churches, houses of worship and monasteries of their fellow men, even before their own mosques. He promised to support them if they adhered to this noble aim: to realize freedom of religion and defend the houses of worship from aggression and defilement...

It is striking that Allah, exalted be He, set this aim for them... in a period in which they, the Muslims, were suffering religious persecution, before they attained authority and influence - which they acquired later on, once they ruled over large countries populated by people of other religions. This proves that Allah, exalted be He, gives no excuse for neglecting, in any way, the defense of your neighbor's houses of worship, even if the Muslims themselves are suffering from religious persecution and their mosques are being attacked. It is the duty of all Muslims to rise up and protect these houses of worship from attack, with the same fervor with which they defend their mosques...

As for mosques, Islam confirms that they are open to visitors - in fact, to worshippers of any religion, as long as their visits do not unjustly provoke or hurt the worshippers. If the visits are conducted according to these rules, which can be agreed upon, no Muslim has the right to prevent visitors from entering the mosques of Allah. On the contrary, Allah has threatened those who prevent visitors from entering mosques with disgrace in this world and suffering in the next... Muslims must remember these principles and teachings, and abandon the obsolete, criminal ideas that call for violence, crimes and aggression... that are voiced by the traffickers of religion and those seeking to realize their personal or political aspirations by igniting strife and escalation at any price...

A few days ago, I visited the synagogue that was attacked in Jerusalem (i.e., in which five people were killed), and from the first moment, I felt a sense of anger because of this shameful act, which does not conform to our glorious Islam and contradicts its principles of tolerance. My condemnation of this crime arises from my understanding of and belief in glorious Islam; my religion, of which I am proud, and which the above individuals are attempting to stain with their ideas and behavior. Neither this act nor the other run-over attacks and criminal actions have anything to do with [the principle of] Islamic Jihad, Islamic moral principles or muru'a (traditional Arabic term for positive qualities a person should have, including hospitality, generosity, and courage).

It is the duty of my Muslim brothers in this land and around the world to condemn it and disassociate themselves from it. I assert that those people who are attempting to justify this crime or incite to similar acts in the name of religion have no backing from the Quran or from the Prophet's Sunnah that support their position. I assert that supporting this or any other similar act will have a destructive effect on our nation and our future."

[Ma'an (independent Palestinian news agency) Nov. 24, 2014]


 


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