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Violence is un-Islamic, clerics say
Central Asians, Pakistanis and Afghans have strongly condemned the September 11 killing of US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
“It’s against humanity, the spirit of Islam, and the basic human rights and against all laws on the earth as well as Islam,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour told Central Asia Online.
“Terrorism against humanity could not be allowed, all these barbaric acts must not continue in the 21st century and must come to an end; we as a nationalist party not only denounce killing of the US ambassador but of any innocent human being,” he said.
“The death of the US ambassador in Libya is indeed condemnable and cannot be justified,” Senator Prof Muhammad Ibrahim told Central Asia Online. Ibrahim is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amir of the Jamat-e-Islami religious-political party.
Stevens’ death could not be taken in isolation, as it was a response to other events, he said.
Stevens and others died when the US consulate in Libya came under attack. The violence was reportedly linked to an independent film, some found offensive to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Still, “it’s impossible to justify in any way the murder of the three American diplomats and ambassador,” said Kadyr Malikov, director of Kyrgyzstan’s independent think tank, Religion, Law and Politics, in Bishkek. “Murder is an extremely inappropriate response,” he added.
Violence contradicts Islam
Religious scholars have condemned such violence as tainting Islam.
“We must always condemn such killings as Muslims and should not be resorting to acts which might bring a bad name to Muslims,” Maulana Yousaf Qurayshi, hatib of the historic Masjid Mohbat Khan mosque in Peshawar, told Central Asia Online. “We must behave in a manner advocated and taught by Islam as a peaceful religion.”
Maulana Tayyab Qurayshi of Jamaaia e Ashrafia in Peshawar expanded upon that idea.
“As far as humanity is concerned, it could not be justified,” Tayyab told Central Asia Online. “We castigate the killing of any diplomat or envoy as a Muslim because Islam would not allow killing of the innocent in any manner.”
The public denunciation of the killing is rooted in the Koran.
“The essence of Islam rules out terror as such,” Noiba Mamadaliyeva, instructor at the Department of History and Philosophy of Islam at Tashkent State University, told Central Asia Online. “I can cite more than one Koranic sura that rejects violence and murder.”
For example, the Sura-e- Al-Maida says that killing even one person is the greatest sin, equivalent to killing all of humanity, she said. Therefore, Mamadaliyeva said, it never occurs to the truly devout to kill someone.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack on the US consulate in a telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama, according to media reports.
Concerns about potential fallout
The incident is considered dangerous in that radically inclined Muslims might commit similar crimes, analysts said.
Although US diplomatic compounds across the Middle East went on high alert, the fervour has spread, with protesters breaching the US Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, September 13. Security forces repelled the crowd there, and no damage was reported.
Small-scale problems in Tunisia and Bangladesh have also been reported. At least one political official called for an end to violence.
“Only God was given the power to give and take life,” Emil Zheenbekov, chief of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry Administration for Fighting Terrorism and Extremism, told Central Asia Online. “As a citizen, I condemn such acts. Islamic radicals or any other people do not have the right to commit murder or to take life.”
Zahir Shah, Najibullah, Dilafruz Nabiyeva, Shakar Saadi and Asker Sultanov contributed to this report