Muslim community condemns outrage in France

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Following the shocking event on Wednesday, January 7 that saw 12 people murdered at French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and the subsequent murder of a French police officer, we, the Muslims of Hastings Mosque voice our outrage and strongly condemn such brutality in the strongest possible terms.

Nothing is more immoral, ugly and offensive to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and insulting to Muslims than murder in his name.

As has become the unfortunate nature of such attacks, the perpetrators have been identified as ‘Islamist extremists’ and because of this, we feel it is our duty to continue speaking out against false manifestations of our religion.

It goes without saying that brutality and cold-blooded murder such as this is the antithesis of Islam and its tenets. The action of these criminals has no place in Islam and their claim to be avenging the Prophet is laced with hypocrisy and proves they are the furthest from his teachings.

While it is true that this magazine has a history of caricaturing the Prophet (SAW), such depictions of him do not diminish his character for people of pure faith. The Prophet’s mantra was always one of peace and compassion, even when abused.

It is important that we do not descend into arguments around clash of civilisations nor promote harmful notions of Islam vs. the West. The fact that one of the police officers murdered was a Muslim is testament to the inaccuracies of these ideas.

It is in the very notion of freedom that gives Muslims security living in the West. There is no other outcome of violence other than more violence. Hate only begets hate.

Finally, I would request that we all reflect upon the fact that the strongest relationships are built upon communication, trust and cooperation. We must continue to promote and engage in all activities that will lead to stronger community cohesion.

We extend, as always, open invitations to the community to engage with us in discussion and ask any questions they may have. Let us continue to work together in a spirit of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.

Peace be upon you all.

Imam Sheikh Ismail Suleiman Yusuf

East Sussex Islamic Association (Hastings)