Up to 300 imams in Austria have signed a declaration condemning the Islamic State militant group, and encouraged fellow Muslims to play a larger role in society.
Approximately 180 of the 300 imams who had signed the declaration collected outside a mosque in the city to condemn IS while unfurling a banner, which read “United against extremism and terror”. The imams referred to IS as the “black sheep” of Islamic faith.
The Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGO) also signed a declaration in Vienna against “extremism, violence and terror.” They said “atrocities of the IS terrorists are contrary to Islam and must be condemned most severely”. The declaration said IS terrorists were misusing the religion to attain “political goals”.
In his speech, president of the IGGO, Ibrahim Olgun, said Islam had been ‘polluted’ by extremists and “a religion that stands for peace can not have fundamentalist, terrorist or radical features.”
Meanwhile, Austrian imams declared they would continue doing everything they could in their power to maintain peace in the society.
“Nothing will stop us from using ourselves for peace, freedom, justice, equal opportunities for men and women, and social security based on reason and solidarity, and to make our active contribution to the preservation of society,” they said.
The declaration quoted a passage from the Quran, which condemns killings: “When a man kills a man, it is as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saved a man’s life is like saving all mankind”.
This article originally appeared on The Independent