*NOTE* – The co-chairs listed below are of the Imams Committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) not CAIR-MI. I am, however, a member of this committee.
As religious leaders, we condemn the recent terrorist attack, which targeted youths in Oslo. No religion justifies wanton violence against civilians, and no social grievance can be legitimized through bloodshed.
As we condemn the Oslo attack, whose alleged perpetrator is an anti-Muslim hate-monger, we also raise serious concerns about presumptions that were made by some in various media outlets without facts that the perpetrator was a Muslim. To assume that terrorism cannot be committed by people of different religious traditions is not only empirically false, but also plays into the hands of the alleged perpetrator, who sought to have suspicion and even violence visited upon law-abiding Muslims.
According to FBI statistics from 1980 through 2005, 94% of planned or executed domestic terrorism attacks involved people not of the Islamic faith. Furthermore, American Muslims have reported suspicious people, which have led to attacks being thwarted.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we pray that all of us as Americans withhold judging an entire demographic of people as threats. If it is wrong for some to paint conservative white Christians as anti-immigrant, hate-mongering extremists, then it is equally wrong to cast Muslims in the same light.
Executive director Council on American-Islamic Relations–Michigan
Baqir Berry and Steve Elturk
Cochairs, CAIR-MI Southfield