January 7, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today letters were issued to several Islamic organizations in the United States by a Coalition of concerned citizens to get their official response to recent comments by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The organizations contacted for their response included the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the North American Islamic Trust.
The Coalition sought responses for the following questions:
- Is it the position of your organization that the imams of Al Azhar have a responsibility to renounce the “mindset” of jihad, conquest, and, as suggested by President Sisi, genocide of the world’s non-Muslims?
- Is it the position of your organization that the time is right for a “religious revolution,” as President Sisi stated?
- Is it the position of your organization that jihad is a holy obligation for all Muslims?
On New Year’s Day, President Sisi addressed the famous Egyptian University, Al Azhar. Occasionally called the “Vatican” of Islam, Al Azhar is a major center of Sunni Islamic thought, one of the most important scholarly institutions in the Islamic world.
President Sisi urged the imams (religious leaders) at Al Azhar to denounce the violence and revolution that has defined the Middle East since the Arab Spring. He urged the venerable institution to condemn the idea that “1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!”
Since the Arab Spring, the moderate and stable regimes have been under sustained assault by terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other affiliated networks. President Sisi came to power in Egypt following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, who is himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
President Sisi’s speech is seen as a direct challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood and the idea that jihad, or war against non-Muslims, must define Islam. According to the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad is the duty of all Muslims, and the highest honor for Muslims is actual death fighting jihad. (The motto of the organization states, “God is our objective; the Qur’an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of God is our wish.”)
In November, CAIR and MAS were designated as terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have also designated the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic umbrella organization operating around the world, including in the United States, as a terrorist organization.
The Coalition, which includes retired military leaders, journalists, and citizen activists, will publicly release any and all responses from these organizations.
Below is a copy of the letter sent to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Identical letters were sent to the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Muslim American Society, the North American Islamic Trust, and various chapters of the Muslim Students Association.
LETTER TO THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA
January 7, 2015
Mr. Azhar Azeez
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
P.O. Box 38
Plainfield, IN 46168
Dear Mr. Azeez:
This is a request for your organization’s official response to the speech given by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
On New Year’s Day, President Sisi stated (in part) before an audience at Al Azhar University in Cairo:
“I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!
That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
In light of President Sisi’s comments, we ask for public clarification on the following points:
- Is it the position of ISNA that the imams of Al Azhar have a responsibility to renounce the “mindset” of jihad, conquest, and, as suggested by President Sisi, genocide of the world’s non-Muslims?
- Is it the position of ISNA that the time is right for a “religious revolution,” as President Sisi stated?
- Is it the position of ISNA that jihad is a holy obligation for all Muslims?
Please note that this letter will be made public and published. We look forward to your prompt response.
Data Security Holdings
The Counter Jihad Report
Conservative Party USA
New Zeal Blog
Gary Kubiak & Dick Manasseri
S.E. Michigan 9.12 Tea Party
Washington Times Columnist
Qatar Awareness Campaign
The Right Planet
Thomas E. Snodgrass, Colonel, USAF (Ret)
Right Side News
Paul E. Vallely, Major General, US Army (Ret)
Stand Up America