WASHINGTON, Sept 26: North American Muslims have issued a religious edict against extremism and terrorism to prevent disgruntled Muslims who might be tempted to use their religion to justify violence, says a pamphlet distributed at mosques and other religious places across North America.

The fatwa has been signed by representatives of more than 250 mosques and Islamic centres and endorsed by over 170 Muslim groups, leaders and institutions.

The American fatwa followed a fatwa issued in March by the Islamic Commission of Spain, which declared Osama bin Laden an apostate and urged other Muslims to denounce the Al Qaeda leader. In both the fatwas, Muslim clerics denounced terrorism in religious vocabulary, quoting from the Holy Quran and the Hadith to make their point.

“As Muslims, we must face up to our responsibility to clarify and advocate a faith-based, righteous and moral position with regard to this problem, especially when terrorist acts are perpetrated in the name of Islam,” said the pamphlet distributed by the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim umbrella group in this region.

Speaking at ISNA’s annual convention earlier this month, US public diplomacy chief Karen Hughes praised denunciation of violence by Muslim groups as “much welcomed”.

“Those are the words the entire world needs to hear,” she said.

Ms Hughes was also urged by 30 Muslim leaders to give American Muslims more influence over US foreign policy.

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