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US Muslims: We Will Not Allow Extremists to Define Us

WASHINGTON – A galaxy of more than 200 American Muslim imams and scholars issued a joint statement on Tuesday, June 14, condemning the attacks on a gay night club in Orlando on Sunday that killed 49 people.

“On behalf of the American Muslim community, we, the undersigned, want to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the barbaric assault that occurred early yesterday morning at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida,” scholars said in a statement published online.

“We unequivocally say that such an act of hate-fueled violence has no place in any faith, including Islam.

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“As people of faith, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that each and every human life is inviolable,” they added.

A gunman killed 49 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday and wounded 53 others before being killed by police in the worst mass shooting in US history.

The support came in the form of fundraisers, blood donations, and public statements that firmly condemned the violence that claimed the lives of 49 victims at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning, and left dozens more injured.

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The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, reportedly called police about 20 minutes into the shooting and pledged his allegiance to ISIS and Nusra, which seemed contradicting to many as both groups are enemies.

In their statement, the Muslim scholars, imams and community leaders, most from the United States, said late Muslim boxer Muhammad Ali, not ISIS, embodies the values of their faith.

They also decry the concept of “collective guilt” that holds all Muslims responsible for terrorist attacks, and warn against simplistic philosophies that pit Americans and Muslims against each other.

“We will not allow the extremists to define us, mold us in their benighted image, or sow the seeds of discord among us,” they added.

“We are one people, so let us all in good conscience and human solidarity reject this extremist narrative and assert our shared humanity and mutual respect for the sanctity of all human life.”