WASHINGTON (AP) Six American Muslim imams have urged the immediate release of all civilian hostages in Iraq. They also say that Muslims involved in terrorism are ''betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent.''
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sponsored the announcement just before the release of Osama bin Laden's latest videotaped threat, is asking mosques, Muslim organizations and individuals across the nation to endorse the imams' statement via its Web site.
The imams said, ''the targeting of civilians has always been prohibited in Islam. Those who kidnap and murder civilians are violating Islamic norms and deserve to be repudiated by Muslims in America, in Iraq and throughout the Islamic world.''
''No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam,'' the group said.
''We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts.''
The statement quoted the Quran: ''If anyone slays a human being it shall be as though he had slain all mankind, and if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind'' (5:32).
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