A group of imams from across Canada issued a fatwa Friday to condemn any attacks by extremists against Canada or the United States to be attacks against the 10 million Muslims living in North America.
In a joint statement issued by the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, the imams state: "We, the undersigned Imams, are issuing the following Fatwa in order to guide the Muslims of North America regarding the attacks on Canada and the United States by the terrorists and the extremists. In our view, these attacks are evil and Islam requires from Muslims to stand up against this evil."
The fatwa, or religious edict, is a response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S.-bound plane by a Nigerian man who reportedly has ties to Islamic militants in Yemen.
In their statement, the imams cite quotes from the Qur'an that call on followers to "enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong," and to be "protecting friends of one another."
They also say that as imams, they have an obligation to inform Muslims around the world that North American Muslims enjoy the freedom to practice their religion, to pray five times daily and attend mosque and to celebrate religious festivals.
"In many cases, Muslims have more freedom to practice Islam here in Canada and the United States than many Muslim countries," the statement reads.
The imams say that the Canadian and American constitutions are similar to the principles of Islam that protect human rights and justice.
"Therefore, any attack on Canada and the United States is an attack on the freedom of Canadian and American Muslims. Any attack on Canada and the United States is an attack on thousands of mosques across North America," the statement says.
It goes on to say it is the duty of every Canadian and American Muslim to expose any person, Muslim or non-Muslim, with plans to harm fellow Canadians or Americans.
The statement is signed by 19 Canadian imams and one from Houston, Texas.
Imam Syed B. Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council said he began work on the fatwa two weeks after news broke that the Christmas Day bomb-attempt suspect had ties to radical Islamic groups.
"This is against our religion and the people in the Muslim community, wherever they live in this world," Soharwardy said. "If they are committing these crimes in the name of Islam, they are dead wrong."
On Friday, a Detroit court recorded a not guilty plea for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is facing six charges, including the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Abdulmutallab has been dubbed the "underwear bomber" because he is alleged to have hidden an explosive device containing the chemical PETN under his clothing.
The FBI alleges he tried to ignite the explosives with chemicals in a syringe as Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was descending into Detroit.
The device failed. However, Abdulmutallab sustained some burns. Afterward, U.S. officials said Abdulmutallab told them he was given the materials by al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
The incident caused mass traffic chaos in the days after and spurred mass security crackdowns as airports around the world.
A number of countries, including Canada, have since announced that full-body scanners, which are capable of seeing through clothing, would be installed at major airports.
Despite the good intentions - here is the problem with this statement or fatwa.
They are saying that because Muslims in Canada and the US are treated as full citizens with full rights of worship, etc and given all the freedom to practice the faith in peace and because there are a couple of million Muslims living in these 2 countries - it therefore is wrong to attack these countries.
What if you had a country that had absolutely no Muslims - would that justify blowing up a plane full of innocent civilians.
If you have to use a religious argument or angle to rally against something as evil as mass-murder of civilians, then you know that you are talking to an audience that is morally bankrupt anyway.
Does any sane person really need a fatwa to know that it is wrong to blow up innocent civilians regardless of what your grievance is ??