What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘Beautiful Religion’? – A full page appeal in the New York Times by Muslims fighting against Islamism

What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘Beautiful Religion’?

NYT Advt by Muslims tall

The full page advertisement as it appeared in the New York Times. To download the actual hi-resolution graphic image, please scroll down to the bottom and click the image .


As people observe beheadings and savagery by ISIS, female genital mutilations and honor killings, the abduction of girls by Boko Haram, the execution of innocents in Iran, the slaughtering and enslaving of Christians in Egypt and Africa and Yazidis in Iraq, rampant anti-Semitism and other crimes against humanity committed by those who claim to represent Islam, many people are understandably asking:

  • What is the true nature of Islam?
  • Is it that although there are many peaceful Muslims, Islam itself is not peaceful?

If Islam is a religion that stands for justice and peaceful coexistence, then the quest for an Islamic state cannot be justified as sanctioned by a just and merciful Creator.

Neither jihadism nor Islamism permit the equality of all humans irrespective of their race or religion and should therefore be rejected. Our denial and our relative silence must stop!

It is the duty of us Muslims to actively and vigorously affirm and promote universal human rights, including gender equality and freedom of conscience.

As our Holy Qu’ran states (4:135):

“Believers! Conduct yourselves with justice, bearing true witness before God, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kin.”

We must engage in and promote reforms where necessary, including an honest and critical reinterpretation of scripture and shariah law used by Islamists to justify violence and oppression.

We must also recognize and loudly proclaim that the quest for any and all “Islamic State(s)” has no place in modern times. Theocracy, particularly, Islamism, is a proven failure. The path to justice and reform is through liberty.

It is also our responsibility to reclaim the faith we love from these monsters, forcefully rejecting and combating all components of their ideology.

If we Muslims believe that “true” Islam, genuinely aligned with the will of the Creator, is fundamentally peaceful, comprehensively merciful and objectively just, then it is our duty to do what is necessary to live and promote an Islam that is based in liberty and worthy of being called a beautiful religion.

We must seek out necessary support from non-Muslim allies in order to be successful in our work.

We the undersigned are Muslims who embrace a pluralistic interpretation of Islam, rejecting all forms of oppression and abuses committed in the name of religion or culture and particularly Islamism.

We are joined by non-Muslim allies who sign here to affirm their commitment as Americans to support those Muslims and all people of conscience who courageously speak out against these abuses and who advance reforms within our community.

  • Sherkoh Abbas, Chair Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, Washington, D.C.
  • Tarek Fatah, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
  • Farid Ghadry, Reform Party of Syria, Washington, D.C.
  • Iftikhar A. Hai, President, United Muslims of America, San Francisco, CA
  • Dr. Tawfik Hamid, International Center for Countering Radicalism, Oakton, CA
  • Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to U.S., Washington, D.C.
  • Jamal Hassan, Council for Democracy and Tolerance, Baltimore, MD
  • Sheikh (Dr.) Usama Hassan, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
  • Farzana Hassan, Director, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
  • Arif Humayun, President, Circle of Peace, Portland, OR
  • Farahnaz Ispahani, Director, Americans for Pakistan, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, AZ
  • Naser Khader, Former Member of Danish Parliament, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Zainab Zain Khan, United Nations Association, Chicago, IL
  • Courtney Lonergan, Arizona Interfaith Movement, Phoenix, AZ
  • Hasan Mahmud, General Secretary, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
  • Salim Mansur, PhD., Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
  • Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
  • Raheel Raza, President, Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
  • Munir Pervaiz, President, Muslim Canadian Congress, Mississauga, Canada
  • Oubai Shahbandar, Principle, Dragoman Partners, Washington, D.C.
  • Jalal Zuberi, MD, Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
  • Ahmad Vanya, Fellow, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, San Jose, CA


13 comments for “What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘Beautiful Religion’? – A full page appeal in the New York Times by Muslims fighting against Islamism

  1. ShareIT
    January 12, 2015 at 3:40 AM

    Only one person from UK!

    And NONE from jihadi source countries?

  2. Abdul
    January 12, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Assalaamaalikum Tarek sahab. want to bring this video to your notice. I am deeply hurt after watching this.


  3. Bob T
    January 12, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    What must Muslims do to reclaim their religion?

    May I suggest finding Jesus?

  4. Samier Rogue
    January 12, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    I have to disagree with you. Your use of words and phrases as “Neither jihadism nor Islamism permit the equality…” seems to indicate Jihad and Islam are two separate things, whereas Jihad is an integral part of Islam and the laws of Islam and Sharia.

    While we don’t and won’t ever condone the killing of innocent people, we cannot say Jihad is not part of Islam. We should not change the laws and fundamentals of our beautiful religion to appease others, ours is a divine law for all eternity and all humanity.

    For the same reason of divinity of our religion, your call for re-interpretation of the scripture and sharia law will render yourselves or anyone for that matter out of the fold of islam and is therefore a call to “christianise” or “westernise” our beautiful religion.

    I say this and would like to bring to your attention that despite the “flaws in current interpretation of islam” it is the fastest growing religion in Europe and North America.

    Just something for us to think about.

  5. John Smith
    January 12, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    I live in the US. We have seen many murders and other acts of terrorism carried out against abortion providers, always by Christians who claim they are doing the will of God. And immediately following such events, the press often manages to get soundbytes or clips of some Christian notable somewhere refusing to denounce the act without qualification. While such refusals draw much attention and ire, they do not lead the American public as a whole to question the fundamental intentions of Christianity itself.

  6. Mas
    January 12, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    Mr. Tarek Fatah,

    I wonder why/how you conveniently forgot atrocities committed against Hindus by Muslims? No other people or faith has suffered than Hindus by Muslims. Do you have any reason for the elimination of Hindus?


  7. Mehri
    January 13, 2015 at 12:41 AM

    What Price A Great Nation?

    The Scripture of the Quran says:
    ”If the people of the scripture (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) believe and maintain a righteous life, we will remit their sins and admit them into the blissful Heaven. Had they observed the Torah, the Gospel, and what is revealed herein from their Lord, they would have enjoyed provisions from above them, and from beneath their feet. Some of them are righteous, but most of them are evil doers.” [Quran, chapter 5:65-66]

    “If only the people of the various communities believed and maintained a righteous life, we would have showered them with blessings from the heaven and the earth” [Quran, 7:96]
    “God is the One who controls your happiness, or misery. …. God is the One who makes you rich or poor.” [Quran, 53:43, 48]

    A nation that upholds God’s laws is guaranteed prominence among the nations of the world, victory, prosperity, and happiness (Quran, 10:62-64, 16:97, 24:55, 41:30-31).

    On the other hand, a nation that violates God’s laws incurs a miserable life (20:124).

    A nation that upholds God’s laws is guaranteed to be a great nation. This is not a mere idealistic dream; since God is in full control (10:61), His guarantees and promises are done. A nation that upholds God’s laws is characterized by:

    1. Maximum freedom for the people – freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom to travel, and freedom of economy (2:256, 10:99, 88:21-22).
    2. Guaranteed human rights for all the people, regardless of their race, color, creed, social status, financial situation, or political affiliation (5:8, 49:13).
    3. Prosperity for all the people. God’s economic system is based on constant circulation of wealth, no usury, and productive investment. Non-productive economy such as gambling, lottery, and high interest loans are not permitted (2:275-7, 59:7).
    4. Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).
    5. A political system that is based on unanimous consensus. Through mutual consultation and freedom of expression, one side of any given issue convinces all participants in the discussion. The end result is a unanimous agreement, not the opinion of a 51% majority rammed down the throat of the 49% minority (42:38).
    6. A society that upholds and maintains the highest standards of moral behavior. There will be a strong family, no alcoholism, no illicit drugs, no illegitimate pregnancies, no abortions, and practically no divorce.
    7. Maximum regard for people’s lives and properties. Therefore, there will be no crime against the people’s lives or properties.
    8. Prevalence of love, courtesy, peace, and mutual respect among the people, and between this nation and other world communities (3:110, 60:8-9).
    9. Environmental protection is guaranteed through conservation and prohibition of wasteful practices (30:41).

    From Appendix 36 – What Price A Great Nation, Authorized English Quran translated By Dr. Rashad Khalifa

  8. Shoaib Mir
    January 13, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    Reform. Reinterpret. Reconstruct.
    That’s what we need to do.

  9. Truth&Humanity
    January 14, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Hindus are the most suffering people,because they are the truely seculars…none is from India in this list…Peoples like you are necessary for rejuvenation of Islam…

  10. Noelle
    January 18, 2015 at 5:16 PM

    Dear Mr. Fatah,

    I like what you’ve had to say. I’m not Muslim, but I dearly want to see peace in our world and would like to see moderate Muslims rise up in mass together and decry this violence. Jihad may be part of Islam but it does not have to take the form of taking the life of others. Submitting to Allah doesn’t mean one must submit to the extremists who only desire is to expand, kill and destroy those who aren’t like them. I would encourage all moderate Muslims to rise up and stand for peace, decry the violence and rally together to march, protest, and make your voices heard to the rest of the world. Don’t do this once or twice, but be as diligent as those who lust for blood. Be brave and of good courage. Thank you Mr. Fatah for your thoughtful insights and expression.

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