The following statements, images, and links are provided
by the
Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion.

The following web page is produced through the cooperation of over 50 professors of Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the US and Canada. These scholars are members of the Study of Islam section at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization responsible for the academic study of religion.

All of us have been affected personally by the Tragedy of September 11th. Many of us have lost students, family members, friends, and colleagues in this tragedy. We would like to begin by offering our prayers and sympathy to everyone around the world who has lost loved ones in the attacks on World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.

Our aims in this web page are to bring to light a number of issues, many of which have not received adequate coverage in the national media:

-Statements by leading academic organizations regarding the tragedy of September 11th and the aftermath
-Statements by leading
American Muslim organizations.
-Statements by
President Bush to distinguish between Islam as the faith of one billion people all over the world (including 6 million in the US) and the actions of the terrorists.
-Expressions of
grief, sympathy, and prayer from the international Muslim community, in response to the tragedy of September 11th.
-
Hate crimes committed against American Muslims and Arab Americans, since 9/11.
-Information on the
Taliban, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden.
-Statements issued by
humanitarian and peace organizations,, trying to bring about a less violent resolution to this tragedy.
Statements from
Nobel Peace Prize Winners, on how we should proceed in these difficult times.
-Information on the plight of 6 million
Afghan refugees.
-
Other international responses to the US retaliation against Afghanistan.
-
Columns and editorial pieces which call for different ways of thinking about the complex current situation.

This web site is being continuously updated. Please check it frequently.
You have to
scroll down in order to see all the items mentioned above.

Since its conception on 9/12, it has been used as a resource in some 70 countries. If you find the information here useful, we humbly ask you to share it with your own community.

For a summary of many of the points in this page, see Michael Sells' "The Interlinked Factors of a Tragedy."

To see a summary of the Muslim responses post-9/11 on-line, see Gary Bunt's Useful article: "Studying Islam after 9-11: Reflections and Resources."

(the picture above depicts
an Iranian mother and daughter,
lighting a candle in the memory of those
who have lost loved ones in
the tragedy of September 11th.
For more details on this
mass candle light vigil, see below)

 

 

Statements from Leading International Academic Organizations for the Academic Study of Islam, Religion, and Middle East

Scholars of Islam speak out against terrorism; clarify position of Islam

Monday, September 17, 2001

Dozens of scholars of Islam issued a statement today, condemning the violent attacks of September 11th.

“We are grief-stricken at these horrifying events,” they wrote; “the murder of innocents can never be justified and must not be tolerated.”
In a lengthy statement, professors from major colleges and universities throughout the country expressed their compassion for grieving family members while also decrying the increase in violence against American Muslims this past week. “Anger and frustration are completely understandable and shared by us all,” they wrote “yet that anger must not be directed at individuals utterly innocent of these terrible crimes.”

In recent days, verbal and physical attacks against Muslims (and people who were thought to be Muslims) have been reported from California to Vermont. Muslims have been warned to stay home or to avoid wearing traditional dress. “Particularly distressing is the fact that many American Muslims have fled to the United States, seeking a haven from intolerant regimes in Kosovo, Afghanistan or Iraq. For them now to face intolerance and violence here is an abuse of our Nation’s most deeply cherished beliefs” they said.

The co-signers of the statement are members of many scholarly societies in the United States and Canada. They include:

Professor Asma Afsaruddin, of Notre Dame University
Professor Vivienne Sm. Angeles, La Salle University
Professor Ghazala Anwar of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Professor Jonathan Brockopp, Director of the Religion Program at Bard College
Professor Patrice C. Brodeur of Connecticut College
Professor Arthur Buehler of Louisiana State University
Professor Amila Buturovic of York University
Professor Juan E. Campo of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Professor Vincent J. Cornell of University of Arkansas
Professor Frederick M. Denny Chair of Islamic Studies and the History of Religions, University of Colorado
Professor Abdullahi Gallab of Hiram College
Professor Behrooz Ghamari of Georgia State University
Professor Alan Godlas of University of Georgia
Professor Hugh Talat Halman, of University of Arkansas
Professor Pieternella (Nelly) Harder Vandoorn,, of Valparaiso University
Professor Marcia Hermansen of Loyola University, Chicago
Professor Valerie J. Hoffman, of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Professor Qamar ul-Huda, of Boston College
Professor Aaron Hughes of the University of Calgary
Professor Amir Hussain of California State University, Northridge
Professor John Iskander of Georgia State Univeristy
Professor Ahmet Karamustafa of Washington University in St. Louis
Professor Tazim Kassam of Syracuse University
Professor Zayn Kassam of Pomona College
Professor Ruqayya Khan of University of California at Santa Barbara
Professor Kathryn Kueny, of Lawrence College
Professor Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Dean of the College, Georgetown University
Professor Richard C. Martin, Emory University
Professor J.W. Morris, Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter
Professor Gordon D. Newby, Executive Director, Institute for Comparative and International Studies at Emory University
Professor James Pavlin of Rutgers University
Professor Jack Renard of St. Louis University
Professor Omid Safi of Colgate University
Professor Walid Saleh of Middlebury College
Professor Zeki Saritoprak of Berry College
Professor Michael Sells, Haverford College
Professor Laury Silvers-Alario of Holy Cross University
Professor Alfons Teipen of Furman University

The full text of the statement follows.
For more information, contact Jonathan Brockopp at 845-876-4927 or see the website of the
Study of Islam Section.
For more information on Islam, see the web page on
Islam and Islamic Studies.

 

 

*Statement from the steering committee and members, Section for the Study of Islam

*Official Statement from the Board of the American Academy of Religion

*Statement from Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association

 

 

Words of Wisdom, Words of Compassion

I have set before you life,
and
I have set before you death.

I have begged you to choose life
for
the sake of your children.

Deuteronomy.

 

 

List of Statements from various Muslim leaders from around the world, who have condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
This list has been compiled by Professor
Charles Kurzman, of the University of North Carolina.
I am deeply grateful to him for generously allowing us to share this compilation.

 

Statements from Leading American Muslim Organizations:

*Statement from Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) on the Tragedy of September 11th.

Press release from CAIR on September 11th

*Statement from Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) on September 11th.

*Statement from Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on September 11th

 

Images of Grief from American Muslims:

In the past few weeks, many of us have seen (often for the first time) American Muslim leaders on TV, sharing their grief with other American citizens,
and as we have seen dismissing the actions of those behind the tragedy of 9/11 as both against Islam and the ideals of humanity.

This is a positive change, to see Muslim leaders. It is naturally an encouraging development to have Muslims being given a voice,
rather than always being talked about.
However, the images of the Muslim leaders have been inevitably male, adult, (usually bearded), and almost always immigrant.
While each of the above leaders individually is of course entitled to speak, if we only see images of adult male Muslims of Arab and South Asian heritage on TV,
at least for some people this will only reinforce the image of "Islam as the Other".

To provide a slightly different image, I would like to share the following two images, of younger female American Muslims.

 

Statements from leading Muslim leaders, condemning the terrorist attacks of September 11th

* Organization of the Islamic Conference, Doha, Qatar. October 10th, 2001: (representing 56 Muslim nations)
"These terrorist acts contradict the teaching of all religions and human and moral values."
*"Terrorists are mass murderers, not martyrs", states Shaykh Hamza Yusuf.
*"Bin Laden's Violence is a heresy against Islam", states Abdul Hakim Murad
*Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi denounced the attacks against civilians in the U.S.
*Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed al-Tantawi of Al-Azhar, the highest institution in Sunni Islam, warned that those who attack innocent people will be punished by Allah, in his weekly sermon to thousands of worshippers in Cairo. "Attacking innocent people is not courageous, it is stupid and will be punished on the Day of Judgment," the moderate Sheikh Tantawi said at Al-Azhar mosque. "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," he said.
* "Hijacking Planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood constitute a form of injustice that can not be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts." Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh (Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulama, on September 15th, 2001)

*The terrorists acts, from the perspective of Islamic law, constitute the crime of hirabah (waging war against society)." Sept. 27, 2001 fatwa, signed by:
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Grand Islamic Scholar and Chairman of the Sunna and Sira Countil, Qatar)
Judge Tariq al-Bishri, First Deputy President of the Council d'etat, Egypt
Dr. Muhammad s. al-Awa, Professor of Islamic Law and Shari'a, Egypt
Dr. Haytham al-Khayyat, Islamic scholar, Syria
Fahmi Houaydi, Islamic scholar, Syria
Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Chairman, North America High Council

*"Neither the law of Islam nor its ethical system justify such a crime." Zaki Badawi, Principal of the Muslim College in London. Cited in Arab News, Sept. 28, 2001.

*"It is wrong to kill innocent people. It is also wrong to Praise those who kill innocent people." Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, Pakistan. Cited in NY Times, Sept. 28, 2001.

*"What these people stand for is completely against all the principles that Arab Muslims believe in." King Abdullah II, of Jordan; cited in Middle East Times, Sept. 28, 2001.

The above statements by high ranking international Muslim scholars appeared in an advertisement placed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, in the NY Times, October 17th, 2001 (p. A 17)

*CANADIAN MUSLIM SCHOLARS REJECT "MISGUIDED" CALLS FOR JIHAD : 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.

"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 and 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 to the letter and spirit of Islam.We condemn any violence that springs from this misguided interpretation."

*Ingrid Mattson, a professor of Islamic studies and Muslim-Christian relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, said there was no basis in Islamic law or sacred text for Mr. bin Laden's remarks. "The basic theological distortion is that any means are permitted to achieve the end of protesting against perceived oppression," said Dr. Mattson, a practicing Muslim.

"Islamic law is very clear: terrorism is not permitted," she added. "Even in a legitimate war — even if Osama bin Laden were a legitimate head of state, which he's not — you're not permitted to indiscriminately kill civilians, just to create terror in the general population." ("Experts Say Bin Laden is Distorting Islamic Law", NY Times, Oct. 8, 2001)

*

 

Statements by President Bush
on distinguishing between the terrorists responsible for the atrocities of 9/11 and the religion of Islam

Statement from President Bush (September 13th, 2001)

I urge - I know I don't need to tell you all this -but our nation must be mindful
that there are thousands of Arab-Americans who live in New York City
who love their flag just as
much as the three of us do.

And we must be mindful that as we seek to win the war
that we treat Arab-Americans and Muslims with the respect
they deserve.
I know that is your attitudes as well. Certainly the
attitude of this government,
that we should not hold one who is a Muslim
responsible for an act of terror.

We will hold those who are responsible for the terrorist acts accountable and those who harbor them."

 

President Bush meets with Muslim leaders at a mosque in Washington, DC (9/17/01).  

The following is a transcript of President Bush's comments at a Washington mosque Monday afternoon:

Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We've just had a wide-ranging discussion on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslim in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Qur'an itself: "In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil, for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule."

The face of terrorist is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace, they represent evil and war. When we think of Islam, we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that's made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. The Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads, and they need to be treated with respect.

In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear covering must not be intimidated in America. That's not the America I know; that's not the America I value.

I've been told that some fear to leave; some don't want to go shopping for their families; some don't want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they're afraid they'll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.

And it's a great country; it's a great country because (we) share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They are outraged; they're sad. They love America just as much as I do. And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all. Thank you.

 

 

Words of Wisdom, Words of Compassion

If one takes a life,
it is as if one has taken the life of all humanity.

If one saves a single life,
it is as if he has saved the life of all humanity.

Inspired by Qur'an 5:32.

 

 

Expressions of grief and sympathy in the Arab and Muslim world:

For many of us, one of the most disturbing images of these past painful weeks has been that of the celebration of a few Palestinian youths after the tragedy.
This image has been played over and over again on CNN, thus reinforcing the myth that somehow the whole of the Arab and Muslim world rejoices at our pain.

Closer examination has revealed that that celebration was in fact a very limited phenomenon, limited to a few Palestinian villages. Almost every single head of state in the Muslim world has expressed grief and outrage over this tragedy, fully expressing sympathy with the Americans who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

We believe that it is important that these images, these words, also receive national attention.

The picture to the right is a poignant image of two Palestinian women mourning the loss of life in the tragedies of September 11th.

- The terrorist act was strongly condemned by every single Palestinian organization including Fatah, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, Workers Unions and Committees, Human Right organizations (AlHaq, Law, Palestine Center for Human Rights), student associations, municipalities, mosques and churches, etc.

- The US Consul General in Jerusalem reported that he has received a huge stack of faxes from Palestinians and Palestinian organizations expressing condolences, grief and solidarity. He himself was pained to see that the media chose to focus on the sensational images of a few Palestinians rejoicing.

- The Palestine Legislative Council condemned the terrorist attack on the United States and sent an urgent letter of condolences to Mr. J Dennis Hasterd, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

- Palestinians in East Jerusalem held a candle-light vigils on 12 and 14 September to express their grief and solidarity with the American families struck by this tragedy. Mr. Abdel Qader Al-Husseini, son of the late Palestinian leader Faisal Al-Husseini led one of the vigils.

- Jerusalem University students, along with the President of the University and the Deans of the various Faculties, began a blood donation drive in East Jerusalem. Students and professors went to hospitals in order to donate blood for the American victims who need it.

- The 1 million Palestinian students in the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, stood five minutes in silence to express their solidarity with the hundreds of American children who have been struck by this strategy, which resembles in its shocking effects their daily sufferings. (see image to the right)

-In Iran, Tehran's main soccer stadium observed an unprecedented minute's silence in sympathy with the victims.

-Iran's Ayatollah Imami Kashani spoke of a catastrophic act of terrorism which could only be condemned by all Muslims, adding the whole world should mobilise against terrorism.

 

Words of Wisdom, Words of Compassion

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead
of diminishing evil, it multiplies it...
Through violence you
may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate....

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a
night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Images below are from a peaceful candlelight vigil on the streets of Tehran, Iran. (September 18th, 2001)
The pariticipants lit candles, mourned, and prayed to showed their grief over the loss of innocent life in the tragedies of Sept. 11th.

 

The following image is from a peaceful rally in the Muslim country of Bangladesh,
who were showing this sympathy with Americans
who have lost loved ones in this Tragedy

(The following images are from other regions of the world, and worthy of being included. For more images, see America's Tragedy as Seen by the World)

Image of Tibetan female monks
in meditation, after 9/11

 

 

The following two images are from India, in sympathy with those who have lost ones in 9/11

 

Words of Wisdom, Words of Compassion:

An eye for an eye
and the whole world goes blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Hate crimes against American Muslims and Arab-Americans
(and those who merely look like Arabs and Muslims)
since Tuesday, September 11th:

-The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (UCCR) has established a hotline for reports of hate crimes against Arab American, Muslim and South Asian American victims of violent incidents following the hijacking attacks on September 11. The hotline number is 800-552-6843. ADC has complied over a list of over two hundred incidents of hate crimes and harassment against Arab Americans, Muslims and others following the attacks. ADC urges all victims of threats, harassment or hate crimes to contact the police and ADC immediately and call the UCCR hotline.

-The Council on American Islamic Relations puts the number of reported attacks on at 785. In the past few days the number has risen from 300 to 542 to 625, to 785 reported cases, as of October 2nd. The 48 hours after the WTC tragedy already saw more hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs than the entire previous year. The attackers have often lashed out against anyone with a brown skin tone or accent. Some of the hate has been directed against our Hindu and Sikh friends, who are neither Arab nor Muslim.

Here are some of the most serious attacks:

  • New York man tries to run over a Pakistani woman: Huntington, N.Y., a 75-year-old man who was drunk tried to run over a Pakistani woman in the parking lot of a shopping mall, police said. The man, Adam Lang, then followed the woman into a store and threatened to kill her for "destroying my country."
  • San Francisco Police Investigate Hate Crime: (BAY CITY NEWS - 9/12/2001) - The San Francisco Police Department reported today that someone left a bag filled with a red substance thought to be blood on the doorstep of the Islamic Community Center and investigators are treating the incident as a hate crime.
  • Dallas-area mosque target of shooting :(ASSOCIATED PRESS - 9/12/2001) - At least six bullets shattered windows of a North Texas Mosque this morning, causing about $3,000 in damage, officials said. Windows at the Islamic Center of Irving were found shot out when workers arrived at the mosque about 6 a.m. Nobody was at the mosque when the shooting occurred and no injuries were reported.
  • Bus with Muslim school children stoned (Washington Post, 9/13/2001)
  • A Sikh man in Arizona is killed. Officials are investigating to see if the murder was racially motivated. The murderer might well have mistaken the Sikh turban for an indication that the man was Muslim. (September 16th, 2001) Two other gas stations in the same town, Mesa, Arizona, have also been shot at. The operators of the other gas stations are of Arab origin.
  • Fearing for the safety of its children, all Canadian Islamic schools close.
  • A mosque in Denton, Texas was fire bombed.
  • A crowd chases a Muslim woman and her children out of a Wal-mart at Lamarie, Wyoming.
  • Click here to see the picture of the vandalized car of one of my own friends. This friend, a former student at Duke University, is now a student at McGill University in Canada. The graffiti on the car (broken window) reads: "go home Arab". (The student is not Arab.)
  •  

 

 

Information on Afghanistan, Taliban, and Bin laden

Disclaimer:

In these days where there is so much speculation about the Taliban and Usama Bin Ladin,
it seems best to provide some information to separate what is known definitely about them.

However, as scholars of Islamic studies we wish to make it clear that the conveying the following information does not indicate endorsing of the Taliban.
Many of us have undertaken extensive educational campaigns, bringing to light atrocities they have committed against their own citizens.

-Information page on the Taliban and Afghanistan

-Pictures and Images from Afghanistan

-Information on Bin Laden, and his interpretations of Jihad, Qur'an, etc.

Click here to see Michael Sells' brilliant essay:

"Taliban, Image-War, and Iconoclasm"

Comments on the Northern Alliance:

There has been a tendency in some news reports to valorize the Northern Alliance,
and claim them as the democratic forces with whom the US can/should form an alliance.
It is crucial to recognize that the Northern Alliance is also guilty of massive campaigns of terror,
committed against Afghani citizens. The difference between them and the Taliban is more a matter of degree, not quality.
For a detailed report on the human rights violations committed by them, see the BBC report on the Northern Alliance.

*Human Rights Watch (HRW), a US-based rights organisation with UN affiliation, warned in a report on 6 October
that military support should not be provided to the Northern Alliance (NA), which was created in 1997.

"The US and its allies should not cooperate with commanders whose record of brutality raises questions about their legitimacy inside Afghanistan",
said Sidney Jones, Human Rights Watch.

*The report points to the alleged systematic abuse of largely ethnic Pashtuns during the NA's four-month occupation of Sangcharak in the north between 1999 and 2000.
*In September 1998, the forces of NA commander Ahmad Shah Masood are believed to have bombed civilian areas of northern Kabul, killing up to 180 people.
*In May 1997, the forces of General Abdul Malik are thought to have brutally executed over 3,000 prisoners after a failed Taleban attack on the city of Mazar-e Sharif.
* The NA and Taleban both stand accused of mistreating prisoners
* Other allegations include mass rape and looting in an ethnic Hazara area of Kabul in March 1995 by Commander Masood's Jamiat forces.

Women's Right Organizations, working with Afghani women in and outside of Afghanistan:

*Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
*

 

Peace petitions and releases from human rights organizations
calling for a less violent resolution of the aftermath of September 11th

9-11 Peace Org.

What follows is a petition that will be forwarded to President Bush, and other world leaders, urging them to avoid war as a response to the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon this week. Please read it, sign below, and forward the link to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We must circulate this quickly if it is to have any effect at all, as the Congress of The United States has already passed a resolution supporting any military action President Bush deems appropriate.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of the United States of America and of countries around the world, appeal to the President of The United States, George W. Bush; to the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson; to the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi; and to all leaders internationally to use moderation and restraint in responding to the recent terrorist attacks against the United States. We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction.

Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter's crimes. It follows that the government of a particular nation should not be condemned for the recent attack without compelling evidence of its cooperation and complicity with those individuals who actually committed the crimes in question.

Innocent civilians living within any nation that may be found responsible, in part or in full, for the crimes recently perpetrated against the United States, must not bear any responsibility for the actions of their government, and must therefore be guaranteed safety and immunity from any military or judicial action taken against the state in which they reside.

Lastly and most emphatically, we demand that there be no recourse to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or any weapons of indiscriminate destruction, and feel that it is our inalienable human right to live in a world free of such arms.

If you are interest in signing the petition (already signed by more than 600,000 individuals), go to 9-11 Peace Org. web petition site.

 

Moveon.org ("Justice, not Terror")

To combat terrorism, we must act in accordance with a high standard that does not disregard the lives of people in other countries.
If we retaliate by bombing Kabul and kill people
oppressed by the Taliban dictatorship who have no part in deciding whether terrorists are harbored,
we become like the
terrorists we oppose.

We perpetuate the cycle of retribution and recruit more terrorists by creating martyrs.
Please do
everything you can to counsel patience as we search for those responsible.
Please ensure that our actions reflect the
sanctity of human life everywhere.

Thank you. We've mounted a petition campaign, called "Justice, not Terror", that delivers exactly this message. Please add your voice at: Moveon.org petition

 

STATEMENT FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

"We must stand up for human rights"

The attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001 amounted to an international tragedy. The victims included US citizens as well as Asians, Latin Americans and Europeans, Muslims as well as Christians and Jews. The identity of the perpetrators has yet to be fully determined but there is evidence to suggest that they come from several different countries. Grief and outrage at the atrocity have affected people all over the world. This global tragedy demands a global response - based on global values of human rights and justice.

As the world braces itself for a ''robust reaction'', world leaders are speaking the language of war. It is at times like these that we must be alert to the risks posed to human rights. The voice of the defenders of human rights must not be drowned out by the clarion call to arms. We insist that states respect human rights and international humanitarian law at all times, under all circumstances.

Already we have seen a wave of racist attacks directed at people because of their appearance or religion. The threat perception is encouraging an environment of racism and xenophobia. In north America, Europe and elsewhere, Muslims, Arabs and Sikhs have been shot, stabbed and beaten. Mosques have been firebombed. Shops have been looted. Schools have been forced to close because of intimidation and harassment.

Governments must take strong action against racist attacks directed at the Muslim, Asian and Middle Eastern populations in their countries, whether they are citizens or foreigners. You cannot claim to speak in the name of freedom if all those on your territory do not feel equally protected.

Governments are using the ''war on terrorism'' to introduce draconian measures to limit civil liberties. The US and EU governments are considering provisions that would allow them to detain immigrants indefinitely, even if they have not been charged with any offence. Such measures are unlikely to deter attacks but they are likely to stifle dissent and curtail basic freedoms. For this reason, they must be resisted.

In reaching a balance between security and individual freedom, the internationally recognized safeguards to protect human rights must not be sacrificed. Even in the most extreme crisis, Governments do not have a completely free hand. Even if they are at war, they must abide by the basic rules that protect civilians' lives.

The human toll of this crisis must not fall on those who are the most vulnerable - refugees and asylum seekers who are themselves fleeing repression and terror. Some governments are exploiting the climate of public fear to tighten up asylum laws and policies. Australia and the European Union are rushing through measures that will undermine the rights of refugees and cause more human misery.

A humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is developing on the borders of Afghanistan as Iran and Pakistan turn away famine-stricken Afghan women, children and men fleeing in fear of military attacks. We need to act now to prevent a repeat of the calamity we saw at Blace as refugees fled Kosovo. The international community must insist that Afghan refugees are allowed to enter neighbouring countries. The international community must also share the cost and responsibility of hosting them.

The victims of the 11 September attacks, like all victims, deserve justice, not revenge. But how should that justice be delivered?Governments are fast defining their options in terms of force. Our concern as human rights activists must be to insist that justice is rendered according to the rule of law. Both the pursuit and any subsequent trial of the suspects must be in accordance with internationally recognized standards governing the use of force and fair trial procedures. The death penalty should not be imposed.

The 11 September attacks highlight once again the need for a system of international justice. Some atrocities demand international accountability. In some circumstances, international cooperation to bring suspected perpetrators to justice can be more easily forthcoming through an international tribunal. Unfortunately, many governments including the USA have not ratified the International Criminal Court and resisted, during the drafting of the Rome Statute, broadening its jurisdiction. As the need for international cooperation to address transnational crimes become evident, the US Government should consider supporting the establishment of the court.

All victims, whether they are killed under the eyes of the world's media or perish in a remote conflict, have the right to justice. The response to the 11 September tragedy must not create new victims or be used as a pretext for an attack on human rights. Instead, it should lead governments to build an effective system of international justice that could end impunity for all perpetrators of gross human rights abuses, whether committed in the USA or the Middle East, in Chechnya or Sierra Leone.

Irene Khan
Amnesty International Secretary General

 

Statements from Nobel Prize Peace Winners on how we should procede in the aftermath of 9/11
The following statements appear courtesy of Nobel Prize winners' page, titled
"The Peacemakers Speak" in The Community.

 

His Excellency Mr. George W. Bush
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
U.S.A.

Your Excellency,

I am deeply shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place involving four apparently hijacked aircrafts and the immense devastation these caused. It is a terrible tragedy that so many innocent lives have been lost and it seems unbelievable that anyone would choose to target the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. We are deeply saddened. On behalf of the Tibetan people I would like to convey our deepest condolence and solidarity with the American people during this painful time. Our prayers go out to the many who have lost their lives, those who have been injured and the many more who have been traumatized by this senseless act of violence. I am attending a special prayer for the United States and its people at our main temple today.

I am confident that the United States as a great and powerful nation will be able to overcome this present tragedy. The American people have shown their resilience, courage and determination when faced with such difficult and sad situations.

It may seem presumptuous on my part, but I personally believe we need to think seriously whether a violent reaction is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run. I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. But how do we deal with hatred and anger which are often the root causes of such senseless violence? This is a very difficult question, especially when it concerns a nation and we have certain fixed conceptions of how to deal with such attacks. I am sure you will make the right decision.

With my prayers and good wishes,

Yours sincerely,
The Dalai Lama
(Nobel Peace Laureate, 1989)

 

 

Oscar Aria, Nobel Peace Laureate, 1987

 

 

The US Bombing of Afghanistan
(Starting on Sunday October 7, 2001)
and various responses of the international community

One of the challenging points about trying to convey a sense of the range of the responses of the international community is that much of the national news has focused on two extremes: the majority of Americans (80+%, according to CNN polls) support these actions. In this campaign, we are supported by the British and other allies. The other extreme has been the angry backlash in Pakistan, which has also been receiving a great deal of national attention.

Our aim here is to go beyond both of those extremes, and document some of the wide range of ambiguities and ambivalences that exist internationally.
Some of these responses come from prominent humanitarian groups, ranging from the UN Human Rights Commissioner to Doctors Without Borders to Oxfam.
Other responses from other countries.

BBC report: The UN Human Rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, has called for a pause in the US-led air strikes against Afghanistan to allow vital aid to be taken to hundreds of thousands of people in the country. She said the pause was needed to enable humanitarian agencies to gain access before winter sets in. (October 12, 2001)
BBC Report: The UN Human Rights Commisioner, Mary Robinson, has also warned that Afghanistan's crisis could turn into a humanitarian disaster on the same scale as Rwanda's in the mid-1990s. Speaking in a BBC interview, Mrs Robinson said up to seven million people were at risk in Afghanistan, and there was little time to act before winter set in.

"Are we going to preside over deaths from starvation of hundreds of thousands - maybe millions - of people this winter because we didn't use the window of opportunity before winter closes? Robinson added: "There's been three years of famine in Afghanistan, there's been military conflict internally, now there's this military assault and I understand the reasons, but we have to have as a priority the civilian population and their need to be secured for the coming winter," Mrs Robinson told BBC television.
 
* CNN report: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Criticizes the bombing/aid campaign:

The international medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said the humanitarian action was "a piece of military propaganda aimed at making the U.S.-led attack more acceptable to international opinion." "What sense is there in shooting with one hand, and giving medicine with the other?" the group asked.

*Also, read here for a fuller interview with Austen Davis, the General Director of Medeins Sans Frantiers: "Q& A: Afghanistan's Humanitarian Crisis". This was reported on the Christian Science Monitor.

 
*CNN report: Oxfam critizes the air drop of food:

spokesman for Oxfam -- a UK-based development, relief, and campaigning organisation -- told Reuters: "We would say that...what's being done is confused and almost completely unprepared for a crisis of this scale. "Dropping things from the air is more PR than a well prepared aid effort. Air drops are very random. "You don't know whether you are dropping food to a city, you don't know if you're dropping food to the Taliban, you don't know if you're dropping food to the people who need it."

BBC: Iran condemns raids

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, meanwhile, has called for an "immediate end" to the US military strikes against Afghanistan, as thousands of refugees continue to cross the border into Iran. Mr Khatami said the strikes against the Taleban regime and Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden had caused a "human catastrophe," Iranian state radio said.
* BBC: North Korea has condemned the US-led military action in Afghanistan saying it risked plunging the world into the "holocaust of war". A foreign ministry spokesman said the government line was against terrorism, but he could not condone the air strikes.

"The use of armed forces or a war to kill innocent people and aggravate regional situation and disturb regional stability contrary to the purpose cannot be justified under any circumstances," said a foreign ministry spokesman.

Quoted by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), he added: "We hold that the action of the United States should not be a source of vicious circle of terrorism and retaliation that may plunge the world into the holocaust of war."

* BBC: Malaysia has also refused to give any kind of support to the strikes. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he did not support the attacks because innocent people would be killed and terrorism would not be wiped out.
Christian Science Monitor: (Saudi Arabia) Some Saudi Arabian religious scholars issue opinions against helping the US in the retaliation against Afghanistan.
BBC: UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned it was not ready to deal with any mass influx of refugees from Afghanistan.

The UNHCR recently predicted that 1.5 million people might be heading for Afghanistan's borders, but said volatile security around proposed camps in Pakistan and Pakistani bureaucracy meant it had no way of monitoring the actual numbers. The agency's high commissioner, Ruud Lubbers, said he feared the new camps would not be ready in time for the fast-approaching winter.
Aid agencies in Pakistan are working amid heightened tension Pakistan has difficulty coping with the two million Afghan refugees already on its territory.
 
 
 

 

Some of the civilian casualties of the US bombing of Afghanistan

BBC: (Oct. 17th, 2001): The Pentagon has admitted mistakenly bombing a warehouse used by the Red Cross during a raid on the Afghan capital Kabul. A statement said warplanes dropped 1,000 pound (454 kg) bombs that inadvertently hit one or more Red Cross buildings on Tuesday. The Pentagon said it "did not know" the Red Cross was using warehouses that were among facilities used by the Taleban to store ammunition. The use of the AC-130 could herald the use of ground troops Red Cross reports "indicate that wheat and other humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouses were destroyed, and an Afghan security guard was injured" in the incident, the Pentagon said.

Mario Musa, International Red Cross: "The compound was clearly marked with the protective emblem of the Red Cross"

 
CNN: (October 10th, 2001): US Missile hits a UN office in Afghanistan, killing 4 UN workers involved in the removal of landmines from Afghanistan.

The Pentagon acknowledged it was "entirely possible" that the missing missile hit the U.N. building, even though it was not targeted by the U.S. military. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "We regret the loss of life."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday called the news of the deaths a "hard blow." "The council members raised ... their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of those aid workers who died and of course stressed the fact that we need to do all we can to protect innocent civilians in the struggle, and of course for the U.N. it is a hard blow," Annan said. "It's something that is of great concern to me and the staff in this organization."

Reuters: OCTOBER 13

KABUL - A U.S. Navy F/A-18 attack aircraft missed a Taliban military target at Kabul airport and its 2,000-pound "smart" bomb blasted civilian houses a mile from the Afghan capital, the Pentagon said. A U.S. defense official said the satellite-guided bomb had missed because of human error, in that incorrect coordinates had been entered into a targeting system. The Pentagon cited reports of as many as four dead and eight injured. A Reuters reporter said at least one man was killed and four injured.

Reuters: OCTOBER 11

JALALABAD - The Taliban say U.S. bombs flattened Khorum village, near the eastern city of Jalalabad. Villagers said at least 160 people were killed in the pre-dawn bombing. International journalists invited to visit the village saw evidence of widespread devastation and more than a dozen fresh graves but it was impossible to confirm the death toll or what had caused the damage. Rumsfeld did not deny the area had been targeted, but described the alleged death toll as "ridiculous" and said the remote mountainous area was riddled with tunnels containing munitions.

Reuters: october 17th, 2001:

KANDAHAR - Taliban Information Ministry official Abdul Hanan Himat said a U.S. bomb hit a truck packed with Afghans trying to flee air raids on the town of Chunai near the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. He said all those in the truck had been killed but gave no casualty figure. No independent verification was possible.

Reuters: (October 20th, 2001); Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen said up to 900 people had been killed or were missing in the strikes, which began on October 7. Witnesses said many victims were civilians.

 

 

Articles and editorials critiquing the US retaliation against Afghanistan

*Arundhati Roy, "War Is Peace: The world doesn't have to choose between the Taliban and the US government. All the beauty of the world-literature, music, art lies between these two fundamentalist poles."

*Arundhati Roy, "The Algebra Of Infinite Justice"
*Francis A. Boyle, "No War Against Afghanistan" (oct. 18th, 2001)
*Pax Christi, Michael McCarthy: "Not a Just War" (October 7th, 2001)
 

 

The urgent condition of Afghani Reguees:

The following is a pictorial essay provided by Doctors Without Borders, the Nobel Peace prize winning humanitarian organization which has been working with Afghani refugees in Jalozai. Jalozai is close to Peshawar, in North Pakistan, and is currently home to 50,000 homeless Afghanis. It is hoped that these pictures help convey something of the humanity of the 6 million Afghani refugees who currently live in Pakistan and Iran.

The picture below depicts the rationing of water to refugee children. A young boy, unable to walk, who gets around on his hands.
A little girl with a common eye infection. A 90 year old woman, keeping her straw mat clearn.
The cramped tents increase the possibility of disease Women and girls waiting to be treated by Doctors Without Borders.
A child suffering from malnutrition An MSF (Doctors Without Borders) explaining potential health hazards
Strong resiliance of one camp family, spinning yarn. Community building in the refugee camp

 

 

 

 

Useful links: Editorial peices and articles

The complexities of Jihad:

* Suggested academic articles on Jihad
*Thoughts and Reflections on the complexity of Jihad in the Islamic Tradition:
*BBC article on The Roots of Jihad

*One of the most important perspectives on the discussion of Jihad is that provided by Muslim Mystics, the Sufis.
Following the Prophet Muhammad, they have often emphasized the priority of inward struggle against one's own carnal self even over that of a struggle against injustice and oppression "out there" in the social sphere. This has usually been related to the Prophetic distinction between the "Greater Jihad" (internal) and "Smaller struggle" (external).

There is perhaps no more eloquent and thoughtful--and compassionate--exposition of this idea than that of the late and great Sri Lankan Muslim mystic, M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Bawa discussed his ideas on Jihad and the world we share in the wonderfully insightful text called Islam and World Peace. Selections from this text are available on-line. There is a large spiritual community in Philadelphia organized around the Sufi teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Many members of this organization are active in global peace issues and have publicly spoken on behalf of causes such as nuclear reduction.

 

Further Readings on Islam

 

 

 

 

Is the Middle East the center of global Terrorism?
(Data from the State Department)

One of the aims of the campaign against terrorism is said to be the elimination of terrorism from every region of the world.

Many people, including most of us, would welcome such a goal. All of us would like to live in a peaceful world.

One unanswered question, based on the State Department's own data available on-line, is whether the fight against terrorism will extend to non-Muslim countries.

The chart below clearly documents that the majority of acts classified as terrorist by the State Department took place in Latin America, followed by Western Europe. The Middle East ranked a distant third or fourth.

Naturally the tragedy of September 11th has brought to the forefront the hateful actions of one terrorist organization, al-Qaeda. All of us would like to see those behind that atrocious tragedy brought to justice.

Still, the State Department data (1995 to 2000) seems to warn against an identification of terrorism with the Middle East region.

 

 

 

Humane voices in a turbulent world:

 

 

 

 

This page is created and maintained by Omid Safi of Colgate University. The opinions reflected here do not represent Colgate University. If you have any suggestions for other links and articles that can help promote a humanitarian, peaceful resolution to these difficult times, please forward them to me.

Click here to go back to the main page of the Study of Islam section.