U.S. Muslims Publicly Condemn Abu Sayyaf
Two U.S. Muslim groups have immediately issued statements condemning the recent kidnapping of an American by Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern Philippines.
Jeffrey Craig Shilling, an American citizen living in the San Francisco area, converted to Islam six years ago and was visiting the Philippines when he was abducted.
The American Muslim Council (AMC) and the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) were among the first to publicly condemn Shilling's kidnapping.
"AMC is appalled that any group, especially a group that claims to be Muslim, would advocate and in fact carry out the kidnapping of anyone to be used as a pawn by which to achieve its agenda," said spokesperson Neveen Salem in a statement issued yesterday.
The gunmen have threatened to kill him after Washington rejected their demand for the release of convicted World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Youssef and two other people held in U.S. jails.
"He went to the Philippines because he had sympathy for the Muslim people, the poverty," Shilling's mother said in an interview with AFP.
The group has kidnapped dozens of people in recent months and has released some of them in small batches, reportedly in exchange for ransoms.
Aside from Schilling, they are still holding six Europeans and 18 Filipinos.
"The group is reminded that kidnapping and murder are a contradiction of the essence of Islam, to which they claim to belong," said Salem.
AMC says it stands behind the U.S. Administration in not giving into the demands of Abu Sayyaf. Meanwhile, CAIR has has asked journalists to refrain from using religious terminology when reporting on the conflict in that country.
Topics: American Muslim Council, Philippines, Terrorism