November 18, 2014 – Nusantara Condemns Slaying of Peter Kassig; Jerusalem Violence

In the name of God, most Benevolent, most Merciful –

With our hearts heavy with grief, we offer our sincere condolences to the parents and family of Mr. Peter Kassig, also known as Abdur Rahman Kassig, who is the latest western victim to succumb to his untimely death by the hands of the terrorist group ISIS.  Even while Mr. Kassig is only one among thousands of other victims who suffered the same fate under this group’s treachery, his violent death shakes us to the core as he was also a fellow citizen and a brother in Islam, as well as a former veteran who returned to the Middle East despite imminent danger to aid victims of the Syrian crisis.

ISIS has pillaged cities, towns and villages; they have raped, kidnapped, tortured, and killed many innocent people indiscriminately.  “Those who break the covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and sever that which Allah ordered to be joined, and (who) make mischief in the earth: Those are they who are the losers” [2:27].  This group has risen against the very spirit of Islam and broken every single covenant prescribed by Islam – all while shamelessly calling itself the Islamic State.  We call upon all to stand firm against this dark force and to stop them in their tracks, that they may indeed be the “losers” God has condemned them to be.

Alas, we are also saddened by the killing of five rabbis and worshippers in a Jerusalem Synagogue and the wounding of many earlier today.  Regardless of the political circumstances that inflame people’s passions, attacks on any house of worship and murdering of worshippers is strictly forbidden and condemned in Islam.  God says in the Qur’an: “And do not slay the soul [whose life] God has made inviolable, except with due cause …” [17: 33].  And “on that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity.” [5:32]  Further, “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

We understand that there is deep turmoil and mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians, and that pain and anguish runs deep and has been festering for generations.  On the BBC, Mr. Netanyahu called on the people of Israel to “stand together as one” but said that “no-one must take the law into their own hands, even if spirits are riled and blood is boiling.” Despite our different reasons for agreeing with this statement, we call on both sides to practice restraint and wisdom by resisting the urge to retaliate and ignite an endless cycle of violence.  We pray that the horrific actions of a few do not condemn the many on both sides to anxiety, fear, heartache and pain.  Brothers and sisters, we are all children of God, and we call upon the leaders of both sides to negotiate a lasting and just peace once and for all.

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