I had a conversation on Twitter recently when someone mentioned the “Muslim silence” on the attacks of 9/11 to me. I had to make sure the person was asking the question correctly, and he or she was. This person actually claimed that Muslims did not condemn the attacks of 9/11. As a result, just like the Muslim condemations of ISIS, I list here a (very partial) list of the Muslim condemnations of the attacks of 9/11. This list is thanks to the excellent work of UNC Chapel Hill Sociology Professor Charles Kurzman:
Mustafa Mashhur, General Guide, Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt; Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Pakistan; Muti Rahman Nizami, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Bangladesh; Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, Founder, Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Palestine; Rashid Ghannoushi, President, Nahda Renaissance Movement, Tunisia; Fazil Nour, President, PAS – Parti Islam SeMalaysia, Malaysia; and 40 other Muslim scholars and politicians:
“The undersigned, leaders of Islamic movements, are horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Surah al-Isra 17:15).”
MSANews, September 14, 2001 (via archive.org).
Arabic original in al-Quds al-Arabi (London), September 14, 2001, p. 2.
Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Qatar; Tariq Bishri, Egypt; Muhammad S. Awwa, Egypt; Fahmi Huwaydi, Egypt; Haytham Khayyat, Syria; Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, U.S.:
“All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment. … [It is] necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and [punished] appropriately. … [It is] a duty of Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means.”
Statement of September 27, 2001.
Shaykh Muhammed Sayyid al-Tantawi, imam of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt:
“Attacking innocent people is not courageous, it is stupid and will be punished on the day of judgement. … 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.”
Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001
Abdel-Mo’tei Bayyoumi, al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy, Cairo, Egypt:
“There is no terrorism or a threat to civilians in jihad [religious struggle].”
Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 20 – 26 September 2001 (via archive.org).
Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist group in Egypt, said it was “horrified” by the attack and expressed “condolences and sadness”:
“[We] strongly condemn such activities that are against all humanist and Islamic morals. … [We] condemn and oppose all aggression on human life, freedom and dignity anywhere in the world.”
Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 13 – 19 September 2001 (via archive.org).
Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide of the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon, said he was “horrified” by these “barbaric … crimes”:
“Beside the fact that they are forbidden by Islam, these acts do not serve those who carried them out but their victims, who will reap the sympathy of the whole world. … Islamists who live according to the human values of Islam could not commit such crimes.”
Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001
‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“Firstly: the recent developments in the United States including hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood, constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts. Secondly: any Muslim who is aware of the teachings of his religion and who adheres to the directives of the Holy Qur’an and the sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) will never involve himself in such acts, because they will invoke the anger of God Almighty and lead to harm and corruption on earth.”
Statement of September 15, 2001 (via archive.org).
‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“You must know Islam’s firm position against all these terrible crimes. The world must know that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy and goodness; it is a religion of justice and guidance…Islam has forbidden violence in all its forms. It forbids the hijacking airplanes, ships and other means of transport, and it forbids all acts that undermine the security of the innocent.”
Hajj sermon of February 2, 2004, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).
Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“As a human community we must be vigilant and careful to oppose these pernicious and shameless evils, which are not justified by any sane logic, nor by the religion of Islam.”
Statement of September 14, 2001, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 6 (via archive.org).
Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“And I repeat once again: that this act that the United states was afflicted with, with this vulgarity and barbarism, and which is even more barbaric than terrorist acts, I say that these acts are from the depths of depravity and the worst of evils.”
Televised statement of September 2001, in Muhammad ibn Hussin Al-Qahtani, editor, The Position of Saudi Muslim Scholars Regarding Terrorism in the Name of Islam (Saudi Arabia, 2004), pages 27-28.
Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdallah al-Sabil, member of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Saudi Arabia:
“Any attack on innocent people is unlawful and contrary to shari’a (Islamic law). … Muslims must safeguard the lives, honor and property of Christians and Jews. Attacking them contradicts shari’a.”
Agence France Presse, December 4, 2001
Council of Saudi ‘Ulama, fatwa of February 2003:
“What is happening in some countries from the shedding of the innocent blood and the bombing of buildings and ships and the destruction of public and private installations is a criminal act against Islam. … Those who carry out such acts have the deviant beliefs and misleading ideologies and are responsible for the crime. Islam and Muslims should not be held responsible for such actions.”
The Dawn newspaper, Karachi, Pakistan, February 8, 2003 (via archive.org); also in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the Sunna and Sira Council, Qatar:
“Our hearts bleed for the attacks that has targeted the World Trade Center [WTC], as well as other institutions in the United States despite our strong oppositions to the American biased policy towards Israel on the military, political and economic fronts. Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur’anic verse which reads: ‘Who so ever kills a human being [as punishment] for [crimes] other than manslaughter or [sowing] corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind’ (Al-Ma’idah:32).”
Statement of September 13, 2001 (via archive.org).
Tahirul Qadri, head of the Awami Tehrik Party, Pakistan:
“Bombing embassies or destroying non-military installations like the World Trade Center is no jihad. … “[T]hose who launched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks not only killed thousands of innocent people in the United States but also put the lives of millions of Muslims across the world at risk. … Bin Laden is not a prophet that we should put thousands of lives at risk for.”
United Press International, October 18, 2001.
Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, supreme jurist-ruler of Iran:
“Killing of people, in any place and with any kind of weapons, including atomic bombs, long-range missiles, biological or chemical weopons, passenger or war planes, carried out by any organization, country or individuals is condemned. … It makes no difference whether such massacres happen in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Qana, Sabra, Shatila, Deir Yassin, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or in New York and Washington.”
Islamic Republic News Agency, September 16, 2001 (via archive.org).
President Muhammad Khatami of Iran:
“[T]he September 11 terrorist blasts in America can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.”
Address to the United Nations General Assembly, November 9, 2001 (via archive.org).
League of Arab States:
“The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities. These terrorist crimes have been viewed by the League as inadmissible and deserving all condemnation. Divergence of views between the Arabs and the United States over the latter’s foreign policy on the Middle East crisis does in no way adversely affect the common Arab attitude of compassion with the people and government of the United States at such moments of facing the menace and ruthlessness of international terrorism. In more than one statement released since the horrendous attacks, the League has also expressed deep sympathy with the families of the victims. In remarks to newsmen immediately following the tragic events, Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa described the feelings of the Arab world as demonstrably sympathetic with the American people, particularly with families and individuals who lost their loved ones. “It is indeed tormenting that any country or people or city anywhere in the world be the scene of such disastrous attacks,” he added. While convinced that it is both inconceivable and lamentable that such a large-scale, organised terrorist campaign take place anywhere, anytime, the League believes that the dreadful attacks against WTC and the Pentagon unveil, time and again, that the cancer of terrorism can be extensively damaging if left unchecked. It follows that there is a pressing and urgent need to combat world terrorism. In this context, an earlier call by [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak for convening an international conference to draw up universal accord on ways and means to eradicate this phenomenon and demonstrate international solidarity is worthy of active consideration. The Arabs have walked a large distance in the fight against cross-border terrorism by concluding in April 1998 the Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism.”
September 17, 2001.
Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference:
“Following the bloody attacks against major buildings and installations in the United States yesterday, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), stated that he was shocked and deeply saddened when he heard of those attacks which led to the death and injury of a very large number of innocent American citizens. Dr. Belkeziz said he was denouncing and condemning those criminal and brutal acts that ran counter to all covenants, humanitarian values and divine religions foremost among which was Islam.”
Press Release, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 12, 2001.
Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers:
“The Conference strongly condemned the brutal terror acts that befell the United States, caused huge losses in human lives from various nationalities and wreaked tremendous destruction and damage in New York and Washington. It further reaffirmed that these terror acts ran counter to the teachings of the divine religions as well as ethical and human values, stressed the necessity of tracking down the perpetrators of these acts in the light of the results of investigations and bringing them to justice to inflict on them the penalty they deserve, and underscored its support of this effort. In this respect, the Conference expressed its condolences to and sympathy with the people and government of the United States and the families of the victims in these mournful and tragic circumstances.”
Final Communique of the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, October 10, 2001.
Organization of the Islamic Conference, Summit Conference:
“We are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms. … Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance.”
Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon), December 9, 2005.
Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, Head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey:
“Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.”
Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, “A Message on Ragaib Night and Terrorism,” September 21, 2001 (via archive.org).
Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar), Turkish author:
“The religion of Islam can by no means countenance terrorism. On the contrary, terror (i.e. murder of innocent people) in Islam is a great sin, and Muslims are responsible for preventing these acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.”
Harun Yahya, Islam Denounces Terrorism.
Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, Pakistani-American Muslim leader:
“The sudden barbaric attack on innocent citizens living in peace is extremely distressing and deplorable. Every gentle human heart goes out to the victims of this attack and as humans we are ashamed at the barbarism perpetrated by a few people. Islam, which is a religion of peace and tolerance, condemns this act and sees this is as a wounding scar on the face of humanity. I appeal to Muslims to strongly condemn this act, express unity with the victims’ relatives, donate blood, money and do whatever it takes to help the affected people.”
“Messages From Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi” (via archive.org).
Abdal-Hakim Murad, British Muslim author:
“Targeting civilians is a negation of every possible school of Sunni Islam. Suicide bombing is so foreign to the Quranic ethos that the Prophet Samson is entirely absent from our scriptures.”
“The Hijackers Were Not Muslims After All: Recapturing Islam From the Terrorists” (via archive.org).
Syed Mumtaz Ali, President of the Canadian Society of Muslims:
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Canadians in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
Canadian Society of Muslims, Media Release, September 12, 2001 (via archive.org).
15 American Muslim organizations:
“We reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of the crime committed on September 11, 2001 and join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of up to 6000 innocent civilians.”
Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), Solidarity International, American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice (AMGPJ), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), United Muslim Americans Association (UMAA), Islamic Media Foundation (IMF), American Muslim Foundation (AMF), Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO), American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), October 22, 2001 (via archive.org).
57 leaders of North American Islamic organizations, 77 intellectuals, and dozens of concerned citizens:
“As American Muslims and scholars of Islam, we wish to restate our conviction that peace and justice constitute the basic principles of the Muslim faith. We wish again to state unequivocally that neither the al-Qaeda organization nor Usama bin Laden represents Islam or reflects Muslim beliefs and practice. Rather, groups like al-Qaeda have misused and abused Islam in order to fit their own radical and indeed anti-Islamic agenda. Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s actions are criminal, misguided and counter to the true teachings of Islam.”
Statement Rejecting Terrorism, September 9, 2002 (via archive.org).
American Muslim Political Coordination Council:
“American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
Full-page ad in The Washington Post, September 16, 2001.
Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair of the American Muslim Alliance:
“These attacks are against both divine and human laws and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The Muslim Americans join the nation in calling for swift apprehension and stiff punishment of the perpetrators, and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.”
September 11, 2001 (via archive.org).
Hamza Yusuf, American Muslim leader:
“Religious zealots of any creed are defeated people who lash out in desperation, and they often do horrific things. And if these people [who committed murder on September 11] indeed are Arabs, Muslims, they’re obviously very sick people and I can’t even look at it in religious terms. It’s politics, tragic politics. There’s no Islamic justification for any of it. … You can’t kill innocent people. There’s no Islamic declaration of war against the United States. I think every Muslim country except Afghanistan has an embassy in this country. And in Islam, a country where you have embassies is not considered a belligerent country. In Islam, the only wars that are permitted are between armies and they should engage on battlefields and engage nobly. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.” The Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet, say that no one can punish with fire except the lord of fire. It’s prohibited to burn anyone in Islam as a punishment. No one can grant these attackers any legitimacy. It was evil.”
San Jose Mercury News, September 15, 2001 (via archive.org).
Nuh Ha Mim Keller, American Muslim author:
“Muslims have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to hide, and should simply tell people what their scholars and religious leaders have always said: first, that the Wahhabi sect has nothing to do with orthodox Islam, for its lack of tolerance is a perversion of traditional values; and second, that killing civilians is wrong and immoral.”
“Making the World Safe for Terrorism,” September 30, 2001 (via archive.org).
Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), prominent British Muslim:
“I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: the Qur’an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims at this sorrowful moment.”
[On singing an a cappella version of “Peace Train” for the Concert for New York City:] “After the tragedy, my heart was heavy with sadness and shock, and I was determined to help in some way. Organizers asked me to take part in a message for tolerance and sing ‘Peace Train.’ Of course, I agreed. … As a Muslim from the West, it is important to me to let people know that these acts of mass murder have nothing to do with Islam and the beliefs of Muslims.”
Press release of September 13, 2001 (via archive.org), and interview of October 22, 2001 (via archive.org).