Only one word: “Stop the violence in the name of Allah”

Appeal to the Muslims of Europe from Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia Herzogovina, Honorary President of the Conference of Religions for Peace.

Dr Mustafa Ceric, Gran Mufti Emerito di Bosnia-Herzegovina“A recipe for success doesn’t exist, but there is a recipe for failure. The recipe for failure is violence ‘in the name of Allah’”. With these words, the Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia Herzogovina turned to the Muslims of Europe with an appeal. He made it on the day after the bloody attacks in London and Manchester. Like Chiara Lubichbefore him, and presently Maria Voce, Mustafa Ceric was once the honorary president of Religions for Peace. “This is not my faith. This is not the Allah I believe in. My faith is never the knife, it’s never terror. My Allah is Loving and Merciful. […] “I confess that I have never felt so confused and so helpless in trying to explain what is happening inside and outside my community of faith. I console myself with the thought that these are the actions of extreme minorities, just a political game by great powers to gain Muslim wealth.”

The Grand Mufti had been awarded the Felix Houphouet-Boigny UNESCO Peace Prize in 2003 and the Sternberg Prize of the International Council of Christians and Jews “for his outstanding contribution to the understanding of the faith.” In 2007 he received the Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung Prize for his Contribution to the Dissemination and Strengthening of Democracy and in 2008 the Eugen Biser Foundation Prize for his efforts to promote understanding and peace between Christian and Islamic thought.

Mustafa Ceric used strong words: “My faith community has many problems. The biggest one is that of delegating to others the solutions of our problems. Instead, my Community of Faith, my Ummah, must solve its problems within itself before solving the problems around it.” There are those who claim that the attacks against innocent civilians in Manchester or London are more important than the ones in Palestine, in Kabul, Mosul, Sa’an and Misurata, said Ceric. “They aren’t more important, but certainly more dangerous for the Muslims in Europe, the majority of whom have escaped from Muslim countries to seek peace and safety for their children in Europe. The peace and safety they have experienced up until now are threatened. After Manchester, London – and even before that, Berlin and Zurich – “the European Muslims have to be strong and clear not only about condemning violence ‘in the name of Allah’, but also about taking concrete measures against any form of abuse of Islam. They need to have a clear voice, a united and irrevocable voice in the struggle against the violence that is supported ‘in the name of Allah’. It is no longer a matter of individual goodwill of individuals or groups that work for interreligious dialogue. It is an existential problem for Islam and for the Muslims in Europe.”

The Grand Mufti therefore launched an appeal to the Muslims of Europe to “gather together immediately around a “common word” between us and our neighbours independent of their faith, race or nationality, to swear an oath to God, to themselves and to their own neighbours in Europe: an oath to love and promote peace, security and cooperation in accordance with what we are obliged to do by our culture and Islamic faith. We must swear that we will do everything that is necessary to fight together against violence towards innocent people. We present-day generations of European Muslims owe it to our descendants who have no blame.”

This is no longer the time to hesitate!” The Mufti vehemently expressed his hope and desire for a change. “There’s no room for calculation! There are no longer excuses for putting it off, nor justifications for waiting!  There is no salvation in silence! There is no future for Islam nor for Muslims in Europe if not in coexistence and in tolerance with our European neighbours!”