Muslims living in the United States are launching a campaign against terrorism. Scholars are calling on all Muslims in America to help authorities fight the violence carried out by Islamic extremists. It is also an effort to end the perception that Islam is linked to terrorism.
Across Chicago area mosques, Friday services delivered a unified message condemning terrorism. This follows the recent religious ruling from American Muslim scholars, called a fatwa.
"The fatwa decidedly states that violence and extremism has no place in Islam. Muslims have a religious obligation to contribute constructively to any society in which they live," said Ahmed Rehab, Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The fatwa is meant to clarify misinterpretations of the religion. It specifically states that all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are forbidden in Islam, it is forbidden for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism, and it is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement.
Chicago Muslim leaders declared their support for it, acknowledging it is as much meant for the general public as it is for their own youth.
"We believe that it is our main target to speak to the youth and provide for them the balance knowledge and interpretation of the text in which the mainstream Muslims do believe in," said Sheikh Kifah Mustapha, The Mosque Foundation.
Some might question whether the statement made Friday will actually make a difference to sway extremists. Islam has no central authority and the panel that issued the fatwa serves an advisory role for American-Muslims. But it is the most significant statement so far coming from people in charge of interpreting religious law for the Muslim community.
"By issuing fatwa, more than people in position of leadership can take it to a higher level," said Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Council of Islamic Organizations.
Services throughout next week will also be dedicated to spreading the same message against terrorism.