On Monday, only two days after terrorists attacked and killed Londoners and tourists enjoying a night out, more than 130 Imams and religious leaders in the U.K. issued an unprecedented statement.
Part of their message, as posted on The Muslim Council of Britain’s site.
“We, as Muslim Imams and religious leaders, condemn the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London in the strongest terms possible. Coming from a range of backgrounds, and from across the UK; feeling the pain the rest of the nation feels, we have come together to express our shock and utter disgust at these cold-blooded murders.
We are deeply hurt that a spate of terror attacks have been committed in our country once more by murderers who seek to gain religious legitimacy for their actions. We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy.
We’ve heard similar statements of condemnation from those in the Muslim community before, but what followed was unexpected, to say the least (emphasis mine).
We pray to God that the perpetrators be judged in accordance with the gravity of their crimes in the hereafter. Their acts and wilful dismissal of our religious principles alienates them from any association with our community…
Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege. This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam.
These vile murderers seek to divide our society and instil fear; we will ensure they fail.
Calling out terrorism and refusing to perform the funeral prayer for the attackers? That is something I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before.
On Sunday, I shared former U.S. Army Ranger’s Sean Parnell’s words of wisdom after the weekend attack. He reminded us that not all Muslims are terrorists. Thinking otherwise has no basis in reality. However, we are very aware that radical Islam is not only a problem, but a growing cancer that must be stopped.
I commend the Imams and other religious leaders in the U.K. who publicly cast out and refuse to grant a final blessing, common to their religion, to those who have savagely taken the lives of innocents. It’s a positive, necessary action, and should be praised.
There will be some who scoff at the message and think it of little consequence, but that’s on them. The U.K. is recovering from two terror attacks in as many weeks, and such a message from Muslim leaders is not just a powerful statement, but absolutely a step in the right direction.