Institute President Calls on Religious Leaders to Once Again Condemn Terrorism and Repudiate Bin Laden's Latest Call for Holy War
21 Oct 2003
Washington, D.C. - Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski, in a letter to the participants of the Congress of World and Traditional Religions, called on the leaders of the 17 religious delegations to "carry out our pledges signed in the Declaration of the Congress by denouncing a call for holy war in a recorded message purportedly from Osama bin Laden and to emphasize that violence and extremism are not rooted in true religious belief."
In a tape that aired Saturday, a voice said to be bin Laden urged Iraqis to wage a holy war and vowed suicide attacks "inside and outside" the United States.
"You my brother fighters in Iraq ... I tell you: You are God's soldiers and the arrows of Islam, and the first line of defense for this (Muslim) nation today ... so don't (fail) the Muslims today," the recording stated.
"Each delegation around the table committed itself to the ideals of religious belief when they proclaimed unanimously that, 'extremism, terrorism and other forms of violence in the name of religion have nothing to do with genuine understanding of religion, but are threats to human life and hence should be rejected, and that the promotion of the values of Tolerance, Truth, Justice and Love must be the aim of any religious teaching,'" Mr. Grieboski stated in the letter.
The letter went on to say, "In the spirit of brotherhood, faith, and inter-religious communication developed and advanced in Kazakhstan, we must speak for the truth of religious value and recommit ourselves to renounce the use of violence in God's name or in the name of true religious belief."
The message purportedly from bin Laden went on to say, "You young people of Islam everywhere, especially from neighboring states, and Yemen, you have to go wage jihad (holy war) and show your muscles. Follow the right path and don't follow people who follow their whims ... who want to divert you from this blessed jihad."
"I do not appeal to you to offer support of any political action or system," Mr. Grieboski concluded in his letter. "I knock, I seek, I ask that we stand for the truths common to all our Faiths: respect for human life and dignity is fundamental; all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights; they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. I ask that today we stand together in this spirit."