At gathering in Arundel, Maryland Muslim leaders condemn militants

Saying they've been sickened by the murders of American journalists at the hands of terrorists, representatives of local Muslim groups gathered Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Annapolis in Anne Arundel County to condemn the actions of Islamic State militants.

"They speak for no one but themselves," said Imam Michael Smith II regarding the militants — often referred to as ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.


A video released Tuesday showed the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff at the hands of militants, two weeks after the videotaped killing of journalist James Foley in a similar fashion. On Wednesday, U.S. intelligence officials verified the authenticity of the video.

Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach coordinator of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said she and many Muslims are "saddened and disgusted" by the Islamic State's actions.


The Council of American-Islamic Relations issued a statement this week saying the actions of the militants violate the Quran and Islam's teachings.

"No words can describe the horror, disgust and sorrow felt by Muslims in America and worldwide at the unconscionable and un-Islamic violence perpetrated by the terror group ISIS. The criminal actions of ISIS are antithetical to the faith of Islam," CAIR officials said in the statement.

Asma Hanif, a nurse midwife who runs Muslimat Al-Nisaa, a women's homeless shelter in Baltimore, said the Islamic State doesn't represent the true Islamic faith. "It is important we do not allow others to hijack our faith," she said.

Rudwan Abu-rumman, president of the Anne Arundel County Muslim Council, said it's not fair to equate all followers of Islam with extremists who profess faith as a motive for criminal actions. He pointed to Adolf Hitler, and said people did not criticize all Christians just because the Nazi leader was baptized.

"We have our Hitlers, too," he said.

Abu-rumman said he recently returned from visiting family in Jordan, where the Islamic State is a major topic of conversation. He said he's frustrated President Barack Obama and the U.S. military haven't done more to counteract the Islamic State.

"Why are we closing our eyes from stopping the criminal element?" he asked. "Why can't we stop them?"

This week the president ordered 350 additional troops be sent to Baghdad, with officials saying the deployment was designed to provide security for State Department workers as the U.S. carries out airstrikes against militants in Iraq.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service contributed to this article.