Press Release by Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
(Washington, DC – Dec 27, 2011)
ISNA condemns and is outraged by the series of bombings which claimed the lives of at least forty innocent worshipers in Nigeria on Christmas Day.
“It is a sad day for all people when a simple act of worship or community celebration is marked by violence and innocent deaths,” said ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid. “We therefore ask all Muslim community members and organizations in Nigeria to lend support to the families who lost loved ones during these attacks, and we urge American Muslims to join them in praying that God may ease the suffering of all those affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Boko Haram, a group with ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks. ISNA urges the Nigerian authorities to act swiftly to ensure that the perpetrators of these attacks are brought to justice.
Just two months ago, ISNA hosted the world-renowned Nigerian “imam and pastor” in Washington, DC. Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye were sworn enemies for many years, leading their respective communities in a war against the other, but in 1995 they discovered the need to end this destructive violence for the benefit of both communities. They succeeded in Kaduna State, Nigeria, and began working toward Muslim-Christian peace-building efforts throughout the country. Jama’atu Nasril Islam, the Nigerian Islamic umbrella group based in Kaduna, immediately condemned these recent attacks.
The Christmas Day tragedy is an indication that more concerted efforts to advance these peacebuilding efforts are urgently needed to prevent such horrific violence in the future. ISNA strongly encourages both Muslim and Christian communities in Nigeria to remain steadfast in pursuing peace between their two communities.
ISNA will continue to work with its international interfaith partners to promote justice, peace and mutual understanding, and to stand together against violent extremism of any kind. In September of last year, the Christian community joined people of all faiths to create the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign to address anti-Muslim sentiment in America. “Our interfaith partners from the Christian community stood with us here in America to condemn religious intolerance against Muslim places of worship,” said Imam Magid. “Today, we stand with them as they grieve the loss of their fellow Christians and reiterate our commitment to the right of their community to worship freely in Nigeria. We appeal to the American Muslim community and Muslim communities across the globe to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria during this trying time.”
ISNA and its interfaith partners are working to develop a mechanism to help prevent such violent attacks in the future. We urge the worldwide community to pray for the lives of those lost, injured, and affected by these attacks.