A group of Canadian imams on Friday denounced radical Islam in a joint statement that promotes peace and calls for equality between men and women.
The seven point declaration, signed by 38 influential clerics belonging to the Canadian Council of Imams, is designed to be read in hundreds of mosques across Canada at the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
“People have done many, many condemnations of terrorism but it has never been done well enough or complete enough to get people to pay attention and to say this is a point of sea change,” said David Liepert, a spokesman for the Canadian Council of Imams, which is issuing the statement.
“This is us reclaiming Islam from radicals who want to promote conflict and promote violence,” he told CNN.
The Council, which comprises 50 influential imams, says its statement – called the Canadian Council of Imams Declaration– will be read in more than 200 mosques across Canada during Friday’s afternoon prayers.
“Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race or nationality,” the statement says.
The declaration doesn’t mention radicalism or terrorism, but it repeatedly condemns religious violence.
The complete declaration
We, the imams who have signed below, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points:
1. We believe in the oneness of Allah (God) and in the oneness of humanity and that all the Messengers of God, including the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), have taught human beings how to come closer to God and closer to one another. Islam is a religion of nature and humanity, one that teaches that a person cannot be a good Muslim until he/she becomes a good human being. All human beings are equal, and all of them are the children of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). The best Muslim is the one who is good to his/her family and neighbors and one who avoids harming others with his/her hand or tongue.
2. We believe in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building, and cooperation among all faiths and people for the common good of humanity. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality. The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws. Islamic rulings do not – and should not – contradict natural laws. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for all human beings.
3. We believe in the preservation of all the necessities of life. Islam upholds the sanctity of religion, life, intellect, family/society, and property.
4. We believe that the well-being of our fellow citizens is the well-being of Muslims, and that the well-being of Muslims is the well-being of our fellow citizens. Being law-abiding people is part of the Islamic practice, and following the pristine teachings of Islam leads to good citizenship.
5. We believe in gender equity and each man and each woman’s divine right to education, social contribution, work, and treatment with respect and dignity. Men and women complement each other, and healthy relationships between them are essential to a healthy society.
6. We believe that it is the right of every individual adult person to determine for themselves their conduct towards and within their society (for example, in matters of dress or good manners), and their personal conduct in matters of faith and belief as well, as long as their conduct does not threaten the common good. Likewise, we believe that every society must be allowed to express and celebrate humanity’s profound cultural diversity, as long as the expression of that diversity does not include the compulsion of any individual to violate their own human rights, or their personal values, or their human nature, or otherwise threaten the common good of all people.
7. We believe and strongly encourage Muslims to seriously engage in civic life and contribute to their communities and society as much as they can.
Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi (Canadian Council of Imams/Faith of Life Network)
Imam Ismail Fetic (Bosnian Islamic Centre of Hamilton)
Imam Dr. Arafat Elashi (Scholar & Lecturer in GTA)
Imam Dr. Ziyad Delic (Canadian Islamic Congress, Ottawa)
Imam Habeeb Ali (Canadian Council of Imams, Secretary)
Imam Abdul Hai Patel (Canadian Council of Imams, Interfaith Relations)
Imam Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Al-Nadvi (Alfalah Islamic Center, Oakville)
Imam Hafiz Faizan-ul Haq (West End Islamic Center, Mississauga)
Imam Yusuf Badat (Islamic Foundation of Toronto)
Imam Omar Subedar (The Islamic Society of Peel, Brampton)
Imam Ashraf Baddar (Faith of Life Network)
Imam Abdullah Hatia (Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, Regina)
Imam Mohamed Arif Desai (Masjid Darul Iman, Markham)
Imam Prof. Abdulvehab Hoxha (Albanian Muslim Society of Toronto)
Imam Sikander Ziad Hashmi (Islamic Centre of Kingston)
Imam Mohamed Nafis Bhayat (Jame Masjid, Mississauga)
Imam Mahomed Iqbal Subrathi (Markaz-ul-Islam Masjid, Edmonton, Alberta)
Imam Anver Moallim (Jami Omar – Ottawa)
Imam Michael AbdurRashid Taylor (Islamic Chaplaincy Services Canada)
Imam Dr. Aly Hindy (Salaheddin Islamic Centre, Toronto)
Imam Tarek Abu Noman Mohammad (Islamic Center of Cambridge)
Imam Zamir Ahmed Chohan (Islamic Foundation of Toronto)
Imam Jamal Hammoud (Muslim Council of Calgary)
Imam Abdul Raaoof Kabar (Muslim Council of Calgary)
Imam Ahmad Abdul Kadir (Muslim Council of Calgary)
Imam Hafiz Asim (Brampton Islamic Centre)
Imam Ahmed Ibrahim (Brampton Muslim Community)
Imam Ahmad Kutty (Islamic Institute of Toronto)
Imam Abdool Hamid Akbar (Islamic Institute of Toronto)
Imam Nedzad Hafizovic (Bosnian Islamic Centre, Toronto)
Imam Shabir Ally (Islamic Information Centre, Toronto)
Imam Ayman Al-Taher (International Muslims Organization of Toronto)
Imam Mohamad Khatib (Muslim World League, Toronto)
Imam Muhammad Kamaruzzaman (Danforth Islamic Centre & Baitul Aman Masjid)
Imam Refaat Mohamed (Barrie Mosque)
Imam Alaa Elsayed (Islamic Centre of Canada-ISNA)
Imam Khaled Alazhari (Ottawa Mosque)
Imam Mohammad J. Qazi (Masjid al-Farooq Islamic Centre, Mississauga)