The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned the murder of American civil engineer Eugene Armstrong in Iraq and called for the immediate release of all hostages currently held in that country, including another American and a Briton. (More than 130 foreigners have been kidnapped recently in Iraq.)
In its statement, the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said:
"We condemn this latest act of murder in Iraq and repudiate those who would commit such atrocities. We also call for the immediate release of all hostages currently held in Iraq, whatever their nation of origin or faith."
"As American Muslims and people of conscience, we unequivocally reject the claim that any cause could possibly be advanced by the killing of civilians and offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Armstrong's family."
CAIR recently launched an online petition drive, called "Not in the Name of Islam," designed to disassociate Islam from the violent acts of a few Muslims.
The "Not in the Name of Islam" petition states: "We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. 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. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of a tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 29 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.