(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/8/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said it hopes the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will help bring about a decrease in civilian casualties and sectarian violence in Iraq.
In a statement, CAIR said:
“We hope the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will lead to a decrease in the skyrocketing number of civilian deaths in Iraq and will help slow the downward spiral of sectarian violence gripping that nation. The violent actions of al-Zarqawi and his followers violated basic Islamic teachings and resulted directly or indirectly in the deaths of many innocent Iraqis and foreign nationals.”
CAIR has previously condemned many of the hostage-takings, bombings, beheadings, and other attacks carried out by terrorist groups in Iraq. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group has also challenged the justification for America’s presence in Iraq and recently called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over reports that U.S. Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians last November in the city of Haditha.
SEE: CAIR Calls on Rumsfeld to Resign Over Iraq Massacre
Earlier this year, CAIR sent a delegation to Iraq seeking the release of American journalist Jill Carroll, who had been taken hostage in Baghdad. Carroll was later released by her captors.
Last year, CAIR coordinated a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and religious extremism issued by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and endorsed by hundreds of U.S. Muslim groups, leaders and institutions. The fatwa stated in part:
“Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs.”
SEE: CAIR Backs Fatwa Against Terror
In 2004, CAIR launched an online petition drive, called “Not in the Name of Islam,” designed to disassociate Islam from the violent acts of a few Muslims.
SEE: CAIR Launches ‘Not in The Name of Islam’ Petition Drive
The “Not in the Name of Islam” petition states:
“We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org