March 11 was the first anniversary of the blast in Madrid that killed 191 persons and injured 1,900 people. The terrorist act was attributed to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. To commemorate the event, Spain’s Islamic Commission, an association composed of the nation’s Muslim community issued a fatwa. There are about 260,000 native Spaniards who are Muslims and approximately 230,000 immigrant Muslims residing in Spain. So Spain’s Islamic Commission speaks and represents almost half a million people.
A fatwa is a religious authorative statement. The fatwa declared that bin Laden acted "outside Islam" when he endorsed terrorist acts. The five-page fatwa strongly emphasized that "bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all those who try to justify terrorism by basing it on the holy Koran are outside Islam." Why? Because the fatwa added that the terrorist activities of al-Qaeda’s leaders are not only totally forbidden, but the object of strong Islamic condemnation. Mansour Escudero, who leads the Federation of Islamic religious entities and co-secretary general of the Spanish government-created Commission added, "We have called on all imams to make a formal declaration condemning terrorism and for a special prayer for all the victims of terrorism."
Islam does not have the equivalent of the Pope. What they have are caliphs. Caliphs are looked upon as successors of Mohammed as temporal and spiritual heads of their communities. They are also called imams.
We are glad that Spanish Muslims have started a move of Muslims denouncing Muslim atrocities. We are not saying that only Muslims commit atrocities, but one of the biggest world problems we have today is terrorism and unfortunately many of the terrorist acts were committed by persons who were Mohammedans and sometimes they linked their atrocious acts to their faith.
It would be good if Muslims all over the world including those in the Philippines would get together the way the Spanish Muslim community did and declare that the Koran does not endorse terrorism.The world is now a global village and people of all nationalities can live together in peace if they follow the teachings of their respective religions. We don’t know of any religion that endorses terrorism.
It would be good if all Caliphs everywhere issue a fatwa to the effect that no Islamic community endorses terrorism. That would be the best way of saying, "Peace be unto you!" We cannot have brotherhood without peace. In the Philippines, our goal should be to make the relations between Muslims and Christians as a good example to the world. Both religions respect other religions.