—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (December 27, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) condemns the brutal attacks on innocent church-goers in Nigeria who were murdered after attending mass on Christmas Day.
We call on the Nigerian government to act swiftly and bring the perpetrators to justice and to take immediate steps to curb the recent rise of sectarian violence in the country.
We appeal to the local Muslim and Christian leaders to join hands to stand against such violence. We must not let criminals succeed in tarnishing the centuries of peaceful coexistence between the religious communities in Nigeria.
Muslims are obligated to honor and protect any house of worship dedicated to God – “And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned.” (Quran 22:40)
“Hence, who could be more wicked than those who bar the mention of God’s name from [any of] His houses of worship and strive for their ruin, [although] they have no right to enter them save in fear [of God]? For them, in this world, there is ignominy in store; and for them, in the life to come, awesome suffering.” (Quran 2:114).
In this spirit ICNA has always stood to defend religious freedom for all people against any religious extremists. ICNA is currently organizing a nationwide campaign to defend religious freedom for all in America.