NICE, France – Muslims across the world condemned early Friday the gruesome attack in Nice which resulted in the death of at least 84, rejecting it as senseless and cowardly violence.
“France has been hit yet another time by a terrorist attack of the utmost severity,” the French Muslim Council said in a statement condemning the atrocity as a “barbarian attack”.
It added the “odious terrorist act took aim at our country on the very day of its national holiday, a day which celebrates liberty, equality and fraternity”.
The council called for French Muslims to pray on Friday for “the memory of the victims of this barbarian attack”.
The attack occurred late on Thursday when a lorry ploughed through a crowd of people watching fireworks to celebrate French national holiday Bastille Day in the city on the French Riviera.
No clear motive has yet emerged why the driver, who was known to police for petty crimes, carried out the attack, but the incident is being treated as a terrorist incident.
Sunni Islam’s leading seat of learning Al-Azhar issued another statement urging unity to “rid the world” of “terrorism”.
“These vile terrorist attacks contradict Islamic teachings,” Al-Azhar said in a statement Friday, July 15.
“Al-Azhar… affirms the necessity of uniting efforts to defeat terrorism and rid the world of its evil,” the Cairo-based institution added.
Egypt’s top Muslim scholar, Shawki Allam condemned the assailant as an “extremist” who “follows in the footsteps of the devil,” AFP reported.
“Islam never called for the spilling of blood,” Allam said in a statement.
“People who commit such ugly crimes are corrupt of the earth, and follow in the footsteps of Satan… and are cursed in this life and in the hereafter.”
In America, Muslim leader shared similar condemnation to the coward attack.
“We condemn this bloody massacre as we have condemned previous ISIS or ISIS-inspired atrocities and the deviant ideology that produces such senseless and cowardly violence. We are praying for the people of Nice, the victims of another outrageous attack on humanity,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
“As we mourn the victims and determine how best to protect people of all faiths and backgrounds from such brutal attacks, let us not help the recruiting efforts of ISIS and other terror groups by blaming all Muslims for the murders in France.
“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold.”
The imam of Toronto mosque, Dr Wael Shehab, also issued a statement on Friday stating that violence has no religion.
“Muslims all over the world are extremely saddened by the terrible attack in #Nice, #France. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the innocent people in France and everywhere,” he wrote on Facebook.
Terrorism is un-Islamic. There is no “Islamic terrorism”. Targeting innocent people anywhere has nothing to do with Islam or any other faith. Attacking people in Madinah, Baghdad, Nice, or anyplace is nothing but inhuman, coward, and terrible crimes that their perpetrators should be brought to justice and punished for.
“Muslims, like all world communities, denounce and condemn these attacks on innocent people, irrespective of the victims’ race, cultures, or faiths.”
Leaders of six Gulf Arab states issued a joint statement saying that they “strongly” condemned the “terrorist” act in Nice.
“The Gulf Cooperation Council states stand in solidarity with the French republic following this cowardly criminal incident whose perpetrators have been stripped of all moral and human values,” the bloc’s secretary general, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said.
Saudi Arabia issued its own statement condemning the “heinous terrorist” act, adding that it stands in “solidarity” with France and will “cooperate with it in confronting terrorist acts in all their forms”.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said: “This heinous terrorist crime makes it imperative for all to work decisively and without hesitation to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”