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EDITOR’S NOTE: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has condemned the “disgraceful” killings of American diplomats in Libya and said that extremists must not be allowed to control the political and religious discourse worldwide.

Below is the statement of CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad:

We condemn the disgraceful killings of the American diplomats in Libya in the strongest terms possible. We also condemn the attack on our nation’s diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt. The actions of the attackers are totally inexcusable and un-Islamic.

We agree with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said that “violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith.” The extremists who carried out these attacks deserve punishment, and the extremists who produced and promoted an intentionally inflammatory film deserve condemnation.

Islamic traditions include a number of instances in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had the opportunity to retaliate against those who abused him, but refrained from doing so.

One tradition, or hadith, states: “You [Muhammad] do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Muslims are also taught the tradition of the woman who would regularly throw trash on the prophet as he walked down a particular path. The prophet never responded in kind to the woman’s abuse. Instead, when she one day failed to attack him, he went to her home to inquire about her condition.

In another tradition, the prophet was offered the opportunity to have God punish the people of a town near Mecca who refused the message of Islam and attacked him with stones. Again, the prophet did not choose to respond in kind to the abuse.

We must not let extremists control the political or religious discourse. That means that people of all beliefs should repudiate those who would commit acts of violence in response to intentional provocations and repudiate those whose only goal is offending religious sentiments.

CAIR called on Muslims in the Middle East to ignore the distribution of the “trashy” anti-Islam film, clips of which are circulating online, that resulted in the attacks in Libya and Egypt.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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