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a journal of analysis and comment advancing public understanding of religion and education
(more on the Journal)

Fall 2001, Vol. 28 No. 2

Letter from the Council on Islamic Education

October 12, 2001

Dear Education Official,

As-salaam Alaykum (peace be with you). The Council on Islamic Education (CIE) expresses its tremendous grief over the victims of the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, and unequivocally condemns the heartless, inhumane perpetrators of the act and any acts like them. We join in mourning the dead, among which were people of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faiths.

As you must know, Islam categorically condemns terrorism and the killing of innocents. Islam’s sacred scripture, the Qur’an, states:

"… whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if be had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." (Qur’an 5:32)

We want to take this opportunity to express our belief in the American system and our confidence in the American people to live up to our nation’s best ideals. We are proud of the statements by government officials at all levels denouncing stereotyping and abuse of any Americans, and our law enforcement for taking an active role in safeguarding all Americans. We are confident that you are encouraging administrators and teachers to exhibit the same fairness and support for their colleagues and their students, especially those who may become victims of abuse or assault in the aftermath of the tragedy.

We pledge to share with educators the task of protecting civil order by right and honorable conduct, and to share in upholding civic discourse in the United States. The Council on Islamic Education calls upon all education officials to support the education process, an institution which can dispel ignorance, cultivate tolerance among all of the peoples who share this great land, and avoid civil strife. Only by taking a clear stand against reactive

violence and hatred, by reaching out to the school communities and promoting healing and knowledge can we protect students of all faiths and their families from ignorance and discord. The values and principles of justice and democracy so cherished in the United States of America are equally cherished by Muslims, and supported in the scripture of Islam, the Qur’an.

"God created the heavens and the earth for just ends and in order that each soul may find the recompense of what it has earned and none of them be wronged." (Qur’an 35: 22)

Our organization, comprised of scholars of history and religion, has been working in American education for over a decade, collaborating with K-12 publishers, state education officials, curriculum specialists, and classroom teachers. From consulting on new history/social studies textbook programs to developing classroom materials and providing in-service workshops to educators, CIE offers a range of services and resources to the education community. We have partnered with like-minded institutions such as the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Arlington, VA to engender fair and balanced teaching about religion in accordance with constitutional provisions. All of these efforts are meant to contribute to the vitality and preeminence of our great land, by helping to create a citizenry that is knowledgeable about the world and its diverse inhabitants.

May God relieve the suffering of the aggrieved and guide our nation toward peace and justice.

Sincerely,

Shabbir Mansuri, Founding Director

Council on Islamic Education
P.O. Box 20186
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-0186