If we were to count the number of lives lost to violence, crime, mass shootings or terror attacks in the US this past year alone, clearly the sacredness of life has no value to the ruthless perpetrators, for all of them are doing the same thing; taking away a God given right from people, the right to exist.

The diverse religious communities in the US must stand strong in denouncing violence, especially against those who use faith as a motive to cause harm to others through false interpretations of their “Holy Scriptures” which serves nothing other than their sick ideologies or political affiliations.  I believe it’s a safe bet to say that most faiths in the world teach peaceful coexistence at the core, and certainly do not advocate taking the lives of others, even if the actions of a few sometimes make us believe otherwise.

As a Muslim community leader, I am dedicating these words to clarify where Islam and Muslims stand on the issue of the sacredness of life. In the Holy Quran, God declared the sacredness of life in two ways. First, speaking of the honor of life through honoring the human race: {Yet very truly, We have so honored the Children of Adam: For We have carried them through the land and the sea} 17:70. Secondly, speaking of the prohibition of killing another human being: {Whoever kills a person- except [in punishment] for [the killing of another] person, or for the spreading of [dire] corruption in the earth- it shall be [reckoned] as though he has killed all human kind} 5:32. 

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Islam also declared five important values that should be respected in relation to human rights: protection of religion, protection of self, protection of mind, protection of honor and protection of property. No one has the right to cause harm to another human being in relation to these values.

People who commit acts of killing or terror and happen to be from Muslim backgrounds do not represent the 6 or 7 million Muslims residing in the US, nor the 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide.

The American Muslim community is as concerned and engaged in bringing safety and security to our country, neighborhoods, and families as any other community. You will find Muslim individuals serving in the army, law enforcement agencies, and areas of civic service that demonstrates the true understanding of our faith, shaping us to be better citizens.

Working together to combat crime, violence, and terror is a responsibility of all, but most important for the religious communities to combat misinformation through education about the sacredness of life. 

I hope and pray that the time will come when we will not need to mourn any loss of life through violence, but rather celebrate the sacredness of life by shaping a better future for all of us. 

O’ Lord, unite our nation around the principles of justice, peace, love and faith.

Put peace and love in our hearts for the diversity that makes our nation so beautiful.

Most Merciful, we pray for our nation to remain tolerant and loving, remove prejudice from our hearts, and allow us to love our brothers and sisters in humanity.

Allow our Government to remain accountable to the people, give them vision and wisdom, as they take decisions affecting peace in our world so that they may uphold peace in the world, advance the welfare of our nation and deal kindly and justly with all our communities. O’ Lord, Most Strong, give us the strength to protect and care for our nation.