In order to foster interfaith understanding and continued common work for justice, we are publishing this statement written by JRLC Board Member Owais Bayunus.
To all my friends and friends of Muslims,
The incident that has happened in [San Bernardino] California must be a devastating thing that has happened to all Americans in general, and, specifically, to over 99.99% Muslims living in the USA. No words can sufficiently denounce the inhuman killing of innocent people as has happened.
The worst nightmare for American Muslims has come true at the worst time; it's the perfect storm. In this election year, when anti-Muslim rhetoric is already at an all-time high, when some people talk of putting a Muslim symbol on every Muslim so that they may be recognized (like in WWII), and some compare some Muslims as mad dogs. A disgusting inhuman attack has taken place on American soil and the suspects are so-called Muslims. So now we, 7-8 million American Muslims, will all be viewed with suspicion in this country that we love and that we call home and will be the home our children and grand children. We Muslims cannot simply grieve for the victims, like everyone else, but must now live in fear of an Islamaphobic backlash; we fear for our safety and lives.
To my Muslim friends, especially those who dress visibly as Muslims, please be extra safe as you go about your day-to-day lives and try not to walk alone. To my friends of other faiths, please we need your help in informing the public that 99.99% of America's Muslims are not extremists.
Such violent incidence coming from a very very small minority undermines the message of peace given by the very large majority of Muslims and Islam. I can only quote and believe what Qur'an says,' If you kill a single person for no mischief it is as if you have killed all humanity. If you have saved the life of an innocent person you have saved all mankind" (Qur'an 5-83).
We join with our American brothers and sisters, whatever religion and ethnicity they belong to, to condemn such acts and would very strongly request our agencies to probe and find the real reason behind their act and their motivations.
Owais Bayunus, Past President & Director of Interfaith
Islamic Center of Minnesota