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Letter: No justification for terrorism in Islam

Yohei Matsuyama, a Japanese Muslim and postdoctoral research

Yohei Matsuyama, a Japanese Muslim and postdoctoral research fellow at Tokyo University, is silhouetted by a window as he looks at religious books at Hira Mosque in Gyotoku, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Matsuyama, who converted to Islam at age 18, is also director of the Japan Muslim Association, which estimates that about 10,000 native Japanese Muslims live in the predominantly Shinto and Buddhist country. Credit: AP / Eugene Hoshiko

On behalf of the Islamic Center of Long Island, we strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the Catholic Church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France [“French priest slain by ISIS,” News, July 27]. We are extremely shocked and saddened by the ruthless killing of the Rev. Jacques Hamel.

Islam teaches us to respect the sanctity of clergy and houses of worship and strongly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism.

God prescribes in the Quran that Muslims should respect, protect and defend monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, as the name of God is revered in these places. According to the teachings of the Quran and the practices of prophet Muhammad and the caliphs, even during tribal warfare there were strict instructions to respect places of worship, and that no harm should come to priests, or anyone taking refuge in a house of worship.

The Quran also reminds us that Christians are our brothers and sisters in faith, and that “. . . you will find nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant” (Quran 5:82).

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack, their families and the people of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

Isma H. Chaudhry, Habeeb U. Ahmed, Westbury

Editor’s note: The writers are president and president-elect of the Islamic Center of Long Island.