I saw some Facebook posts over the weekend from right-wing sites wondering why Muslims didn’t condemn the Boston bombing. So I decided to investigate.
First off, I returned to work Sunday to find a message from Mujahid “Rick” Ramos, imam of the Masjid At-Tawheed mosque in York. I’ve done a number of stories with Rick and he is a very thoughtful man who is passionate about America and angry about terrorism.
Rick wanted to speak out about the attack and he wanted us to be there. Unfortunately, I don’t work Fridays. Thankfully, Rick was determined to get his message out and called somebody else. Mike Argento covered the story, which ran in our paper Saturday.
“It is prohibited for Muslims to kill anybody,” Ramos told the gathering, which filled the room. “Justice should be administered by the people in authority. It is not for you to take that matter into your own hands. It is for the authorities to administer justice.
“In Islam, it is prohibited to kill anyone, and there is severe punishment for someone who kills without a reason. How could a Muslim take the life of another human being?”
He told the congregation that Islam teaches that “life is sacred” – so much so, he said, “that you cannot take the life of an animal without a justifiable reason.”
The reaction from Ramos and Masjid At-Tawheed was similar from Muslim groups across the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
“Americans are united today in condemning terrorism and in the conviction that those responsible for the terrorist attacks in Boston must face justice. This cowardly attack resulted in the murders of an eight-year-old-boy and two women, and the wounding of many others. As God tells us in the Quran, if you murder one person, it is as if you murdered all of humanity.
“While we are outraged at the terrorists, we have been inspired by the unity of Americans of all backgrounds. We are a resilient people. Now that we know the identity of the perpetrators, this unity is ever more important.
“We will show the terrorists that their plan to sow division and distrust has failed. People of goodwill are not afraid. America will stay united. We will not turn on each other in the acts of false vengeance we have witnessed after other tragedies in the past.
“American Muslims thank law enforcement for their diligent efforts to protect all our nation’s citizens. We send our sincere condolences to the loved ones of the MIT police officer killed overnight and our prayers are with the law enforcement official who was wounded.
In Boston, Imam Talal Eid of the Boston Islamic Institute refused to give deceased bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev last rites. He questioned media accounts that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become a devout Muslim.
“A person who is devoted does not kill innocent people,” Eid said.
Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area, also rejected the Tsarnaev brothers.
In fact, the condemnation came from all corners of the Muslim world.
“As a Marathoner and Human being, I’m devastated. Prayers to the victims,” Qasim Rashid, the chairman of the Muslim Writer’s Guild of America, tweeted. “Whoever the culprit, no religion justifies this act of violence. We must remain united against extremism.”
So that’s what I found. Thoughts? Any disappointment with how the Muslim world reacted to the bombing?