So often the critics of Islam demand that Muslim clerics speak out against the atrocities done in the name of their religion. The assumption is that Muslim clerics do not speak out, and that their silence means either that they agree with the violence, or that they are afraid to counter that violence because to do so would mean their own demise. Either rationale supports the picture that Islam is anything but a religion of peace.
The fact is Muslim clerics do speak out against violence, but their words rarely make it into the mainstream media. So whenever we hear a cleric counter the madness that passes for Islam in some parts of the world, it is vital that we share it as widely as possible.
With this in mind I want to simply note, support, and give thanks to the Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the senior Shiite Muslim cleric in Lebanon, for coming out against honor killing, the practice of murdering a female family member for supposed sexual misconduct. The Grand Ayatollah issued a fatwah against honor killing saying, “I view an honor crime as a repulsive act condemned and prohibited by religion.”
It is important that you remember this fatwah. It is important that when you hear people attacking Islam as a religion of violence that you bring up this fatwah. Yes Islam (along with Judaism and Christianity) has within it seeds of terrible evil and violence, but these need not be planted, watered, and nurtured. We can allow these seeds to dry up and die out from neglect, but only if we support the voices of justice and peace that are all too easily drowned out by the screams of ignorance and fear.