Prominent US Muslims call on Hamas to release Shalit. Maybe Norwegian Muslims could copy their letter?

A group of prominent North American Muslims has called on Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

I applaud this noble initiative and invite Norwegian groups to follow suit:

August 26, 2011

Dear Mr. Mashal:

We write to you during this holy month of Ramadan as Muslim-American leaders and scholars across the United States. As Muslims around the world reflect upon their faith and strive for an elevated level of devotion during this blessed month, we urge you to act upon our higher calling to charity and compassion by releasing Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit.

We believe Hamas’ harsh treatment and five-year detention of Shalit is wrong. On many occasions Hamas has stated its opposition to unjust imprisonment. It has said that Israel’s detention of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children who have been held for months or years, sometimes in harsh conditions or without access to genuine due process, is unjust. As Muslims we are guided by the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He teaches us to follow a higher ethical and moral code, and to set an example ofjustice and mercy, even against enemies and prisoners of war. In Surat Fussilat, Ayah 34, we are told that “the good deed and the evil deed are not alike,” and we are instructed to “repel the evil deed with one that is better.”

The struggle for Palestinian human rights and self-determination must be based on this ethical and moral code. Hamas’ inhumane detention of Shalit undermines the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for human rights and a state of their own, existing in peace and security beside Israel.

On the occasion of Ramadan, we urge you to recall that the Holy Qur’an teaches us that “Whoever pardons and makes reconciliation will receive his reward from Allah.” We urge you to act upon these words by releasing Shalit immediately.

Thank you for considering this request.


Representative Keith Ellison Member of Congress Fifth District, Minnesota

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies American University

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law University of California, Los Angeles

Representative André Carson Member of Congress Seventh District, Indiana

Imam Abdullah Antepli Founder, Muslim Chaplains Association Muslim Chaplain, Duke University

Camille Helminski Co-Director The Threshold Society

Kabir Helminski Co-Director The Threshold Society

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Chairman, The Cordoba Initiative

Dr. Sayyid Syeed Interfaith & Community Alliance National Director The Islamic Society of North America

Dr. Aminah McCloud Director, Islamic World Studies Program DePaul University

Dr. Omid Safi University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill