by Julia Williams
Re: Thanks For The Fatwa, editorial, Jan. 20
Major Canadian news outlets, including the National Post, have brought the recent fatwa by 20 imams condemning terrorism to the nation’s attention. The imams have been deservedly congratulated. However, the follow-up questions and patronizing advice that accompanied these media accounts have suggested that this type of condemnation from the Muslim community is unheard of.
In 2005, the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIRCAN) co-ordinated a historic national statement by 120 imams across Canada that unequivocally condemned terrorism and denounced religious extremism as a perversion of our faith. Such declarations abound, as Muslims leaders and scholars from a diversity of backgrounds have all roundly condemned terrorism as contrary to the principles of Islam and antithetical to our common values as human beings.
Given the fact that there is no central clergy in Islam, this is something of a triumph. But if Muslim scholars and community leaders stand up and condemn terrorism and violent religious extremism and no one remembers it or reports it, does it count? The answer: Apparently not.
The problem is not whether or not Muslims condemn terrorism. The problem is the collective memory, or lack thereof, on the part of the media.
Julia Williams, human rights and civil liberties officer, CAIR-CAN, Ottawa.