Nusantara Foundation Joins Muslim Scholars Worldwide In Rejecting Religious Extremism

 

In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Benevolent

Nusantara Foundation, under the direction of Imam Shamsi Ali, would like to express its resolute and unequivocal rejection – in the strongest possible terms – of extremist and otherwise heretical views and constructs propagated and used by religiously-branded groups to justify violence against their fellow human beings, irrespective of color, creed, religion, sect, nationality, sex, or other social affiliations.

Sabotaged by rhetoric and ideologies used in geo-political, social and economic conflicts and struggles that plague the modern Muslim world – and in the Middle East in particular – we declare, without any reservations or hesitation that Islam, as the second largest religion in the world, is independent and innocent of these heretical and vile views.

As Muslim Americans, we stand united in solidarity with our fellow American citizens and the overwhelming majority of 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, who adhere to the real and actual precepts of Islam, as it has been adopted and practiced for thousands of years.  It is the religion enshrined in our holy book – the Quran – the same text that was referenced and studied by this nation’s founding fathers as they drafted one the most enduring social contracts codifying our rights and responsibilities and protecting our right to pursue happiness.

We accept our duty as Muslims to forcefully reject the defamation and defilement of our religion, which has been hijacked by insurgents and fringe extremist groups exhorting violence and using Islam as a brand to breed fear and horror in people’s hearts.  We, therefore, reclaim our faith from these radical groups.  We understand with our hearts and minds that Islam, derived from the Arabic word silm or “peace,” is a religion of mercy bestowed on mankind.  With the explicit call to honor and care for our parents and families, neighbors, orphans, the needy and the poor, it is a religion for those who “believe in the Unseen and are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what [God Almighty] has provided them; and who believe in what has been revealed to you [Prophet Muhammed] and what has been revealed before you, and they have faith in the Hereafter.”

As history often repeats itself, the Quran is unobjectionably clear in its rejection of violence and usurpation of rights, and speaks directly to the subject.  To quote directly from the Holy Text:

“When We took a pledge from you: ‘You shall not shed the blood of one another, and you shall not drive one another out of your homes.’ Then you agreed, being yourselves the witnesses.  Yet, here you are, killing one another, and driving a group of your own people out of their homes, supporting each other against them in sin and aggression – and if they come to you as prisoners, you would ransom them, while their very expulsion was unlawful to you!  Do you, then, believe in some parts of the Book, and disbelieve in others?  So, what can be the punishment of those among you who do that, except disgrace in present life? And on the Day of Judgment, they shall be turned to the most severe punishment.  And God is not unaware of what you do.” (Al Baqara, 2:84-85)

As Muslims, we understand and appreciate the strength of the Muslim identity that prevails among those who ascribe to the teachings of Islam.  Islam provides a frame of reference and purpose for Muslims as they navigate the course of their lives, and is a badge they wear with pride and honor.  So it is to our deep distress, anguish and frustration that we bear witness to these violent, radical groups distorting Islam to win legitimacy and a following to inflict pain, suffering and havoc – much in the same way that extreme nationalism appeals to certain groups of people, breeding xenophobia and racism that have, as witnessed by recent history, led to wars, massacres and death on a massive scale.

The overwhelming majority of American Muslims are law-abiding citizens, who have pledged allegiance to this country and hold “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  They have established families and roots here, and experienced both personal and professional growth and success – all in pursuit of their American dream.

As Muslims, we are conscious of and grateful for the opportunity to achieve success and contribute to the advancement of this great nation (and by extension the world).  We are also grateful to be citizens of a nation that upholds and protects our basic human rights, including our right to practice our religion peacefully and fully – rights often denied to citizens of other nations.  While not always perfect in its implementation, we believe in the high spirit of the law upon which this nation was built, and appreciate the power of the pen and of democracy in holding our elected leaders accountable and affecting change for the benefit of all of our fellow citizens.

Through personal relationships, Muslims have created deep and lasting bonds with fellow Americans who have embraced us as friends, colleagues and family members.  In the same spirit, and on behalf of the Muslim community, we would like to extend our greetings of peace, love and friendship to everyone.

Seeking refuge from all evil, may God’s peace and blessings be upon us all.

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