As the enormity of the shooting deaths of 13 people at Fort Hood reverberates across the country, Muslims once again find their faith under scrutiny, again linked with an act of violence.
Friday at Carbondale Muslim Center, Imam Abdul Haqq said, given that America is at war in two Muslim countries, it’s not surprising the faith would be questioned and criticized.
“In this climate, 9/11 still lingers, too,” he said. “We just pray that the population of American people will not look at all Muslims this way, and that good sense and good morals will prevail.”
Haqq said the teachings of Islam specifically preach against acts like those allegedly committed by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who also left 30 people wounded in his rampage.
“The Quran says that if you save one innocent person, you save all of them,” he said. “And if you kill one innocent person, you kill all of them.”
Haqq, who is also an Army veteran, having served during the Vietnam War, added: “We pray for the families of those murdered and the injured.”
In Chicago, Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, echoed Haqq and lamented the connections being drawn between the faith and the actions of one man.
“I feel saddened and disappointed; it’s a breach of trust for me as a Muslim,” said Rehab. “This individual has misrepresented what our faith is about by committing this monstrous and unjust act.”
Rehab added, “This single act of an individual probably will overshadow the reality of millions of Americans who lead good lives every day as honorable citizens loving their faith, loving their country and appreciating the sacrifices of those who protect us.”
Carbondale native Amina Butt-Sharif, who also works with the Council, said she has concerns of a backlash against Muslims in the wake of the attack.
“Islam is a peace-loving religion and condemns violence in the strongest terms,” she said. “But after incidents like this, Muslims are increasingly attacked, so we are just asking Muslims to be cautious and asking media not to abuse the name of Islam in covering the incident and inadvertently implicating all Muslims.”
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