American Arab and Muslim groups denounce ISIS beheadings
By Ray Hanania
American Arab and Muslim organizations in the United States this week were among the voices denouncing the brutal murders of two journalists in the past two weeks including the horrendous decapitation James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
Statements were released by many groups, but surprisingly, many of the statements were not included in mainstream news media reports.
Arabs and Muslims in America have repeatedly stood up to denounce violence by extremist Islamic and Arab groups, along with violence by pro-Western organizations and nations including by Israel.
Here are some of the statements.
The first was issued by the American Human Rights Council of Greater Detroit:
AHRC deplores the brutal killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff:
The American Human Rights Council (AHRC) condemns the brutal killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff, the second American killed by the terror group the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS). Last month, IS brutally killed another American journalist, James Foley.
Sotloff was kidnapped and reportedly beheaded and the killers videotaped the crime hoping to spread fear, hate and loss of hope. The brutal killing of Mr. Sotloff once again showcases the barbaric nature of such crime and the evil that IS represents towards fellow humans by the name of politics. AHRC condemns this murder in the strongest terms and empathizes with Mr. Sotloff’s family. AHRC joins the nation in demanding swift action to bring those killers to justice.
Like Mr. Foley and other reporters, Mr. Sotloff, as a journalist was dedicated to telling the story of the plight of the people in Iraq and Syria amidst intense conflict. This terrorist act silences one of the voices of those who are speaking out for justice, fairness and civil and human rights in the Middle East. AHRC reaffirms its strong stance that the freedom of the press should be protected and journalists, and other noncombatants, should not be targeted or held hostages under any circumstances. Journalists must be protected and not abused or killed on the basis of government policies that are clearly beyond their control. Journalists, and other noncombatants in war zones, should have their human rights respected by all the warring parties. AHRC reiterates its condemnation in the strongest words of the human rights violations against all noncombatants, especially journalists. AHRC demands justice for all the other victims of IS who include people of all religious backgrounds. AHRC highlights the importance of being mindful that terrorism has no religion and that the terrorist acts of a few should not be attributed to a religion, a sect or a national group. While IS professes belonging to the Sunni Islamic faith, its victims include Sunni Muslims. The crisis in Iraq and Syria is ongoing with hundreds of thousands dying and millions displaced. AHRC urges the international community to do more to save Iraq and Syria from the ongoing humanitarian crisis. AHRC affirms that each human life is very precious and its value is not determined by race, color, national origin or faith.
“The barbaric nature of Mr. Scotloff’s shocking murder should unite us against extremism, violence, and terrorism” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Acting Director. “This crime violates basic human decency. It violates the fundamental principles of Islam and should not be attributed to Islam or Muslims.” continued Hamad.
This statement was released by the US Council of Muslim Organizations:
Muslim Coalition denounces ISIS for Steven Sotloff’s Murder
(WASHINGTON DC – 09/03/2014) – The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several national and local organizations, today condemns a terrorist and anti-Islam group for a video purporting to show the gruesome beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
The murder of innocent civilians is immoral, illegal, barbaric, and in direct contravention of the major tenets of Islam and Islamic law. No cause or purpose is served by this heinous act other than a clear manifestation of this group’s cruel and un-Islamic nature.
“We are outraged that we once again find ourselves in the position to condemn this organization that calls itself the “Islamic State”, also known by the acronym ISIS, for killing Mr. Sotloff, especially so soon after its members murdered journalist James Foley,” said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary general.
“We recognize that all innocent life is sacred and so we also denounce this group for the rampant violence, terror, murder and mayhem it is spreading throughout the region against Muslims and non-Muslims alike. They do not represent me, American Muslims or the world’s 1.5 billion Muslim. ISIS must know that such a dreadful acts will never be condoned and will be strongly deplored,” Mr. Jammal emphasized.
During these difficult days, the USCMO also reminds the public to avoid spreading Islamophobia by using the actions of ISIS to characterize and demonize all Muslims, globally and here in the United States. We unequivocally denounce ISIS, its mentality, and tactics under any circumstances.
“We at the USCMO offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Sotloff’s family. We pray they find solace and we pray that Mr. Sotloff’s murderers will be brought to justice,” Mr. Jammal said.
The USCMO also demands the immediate release of British hostage David Cawthorne Haines, who was seen in the current video and whom the group threatened to execute as well.
The USCMO consists of the following Muslim and American Arab organizations: American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed).
Most of the denunciations were reported in the Arab World and Muslim World news media, but only received scant attention in the mainstream American news media.
Ironically, Americans continue to ask the ridiculous question, “Why don’t Arabs and Muslims denounce the violence?” The question is a tactical lie, of course, that is misleading and untrue. Over the years, American Arab and Muslim organizations have strongly denounced major violent incidents including the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, and violent attacks before and since.