Czech Muslims hold public event to condemn terrorism
Czech Muslims have decided to make a public, thorough condemnation of the terrorist attacks that have recently shaken Europe and are gathering on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square in Prague today. Their intention is to honor the victims of those attacks and to express their shared concern with other inhabitants of the Czech Republic over the violence in Europe committed by terrorists.
"The situation in the world and in Europe itself has escalated to such a degree that it is necessary for Muslims to stop expressing themselves through words only - instead, they must resolve to strongly distance themselves from such groups. That's why it is important to hold public assemblies to demonstrate our position," Romana Červenková, one of the organizers of today's demonstration, told news server Romea.cz.
"We want to strictly reject the current terrorist attacks committed by the criminal organization ISIS," Červenková said. "The assembly will take place at 18:00 on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square in front of the Church of the Sacred Heart."
The official convener of the assembly is the Al Firdaus Center, which organized assemblies last year together with members of the Stop Hatred (Stop nenávisti) initiative, with evangelical clergyman Mikuláš Vymětal, and with many others. The Muslims will attend the service at 18:00 at the church, just as their fellow believers in France and in Italy have also attended Christian worship as a gesture of solidarity.
Speeches to the assembly will begin at 18:45. The program will include an information stand where Muslims will answer people's questions about Islam.
The opening remarks will be made by Červenková, followed by other speakers. The first will be the Czech Muslim Kateřina Prokičová, who will read a joint declaration by organizations bringing together Muslims in the Czech Republic such as Al Firdaus, the Muslim Community, and the General Union of Muslim Students and Youth.
Prokičová will be followed by the Vice-Chair of the Central Headquarters of Muslim Communities, Mr Vladimír Sáňka; Bader Mea Eknaifith of the Al Firdaus Prague Center; parochial Vicar Petr Beneš, who is scheduled to lead the 18:00 mass; MUDr. Marcela Rozehnalová, Executive Director of the Federation of Women for World Peace; and a member of the General Union of Muslim Students and Youth, Ondřej Adamík. Červenková said the Czech Muslims will then lay candles and flowers at the church walls and form a human chain around the church as a gesture of protection for and solidarity with Christians worldwide.
American Muslims: "Islamic State, you suck!!!"
Other Muslims worldwide are also responding to the attacks by the so-called Islamic State because they dislike being associated with them, just as the Czech Muslims demonstrating today say they do. The non-profit Muslim organization Sound Vision has erected billboards around Chicago through which "actual Muslims" are sending the jihadists a clear message.
"Hey ISIS, you suck!!!" read the gigantic billboards, which also include a quote from the Quran stating that "Life is sacred". The message is signed with the Twitter hashtag #ActualMuslims.
The aim of the campaign, according to Sound Vision, is to demonstrate that the so-called Islamic State does not represent all Muslims and that it decidedly is not synonymous with Islam. In an interview for the tabloid news server Blesk.cz, Červenková said other protest actions by Muslims against the so-called Islamic State and terrorist violence are taking place worldwide.
"I like the idea of the Muslims in France, who have begun visiting churches. In Italy there was a protest by 2 000 [Muslims]," Červenková said.
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