Fundamentalists Are Not True Muslims

Dr. Muhammad Sammak Addresses PISAI Congress

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ROME, MAY 21, 2002 ( Muhammad Sammak, an eminent Muslim exponent of the dialogue with Christianity, asserted that whoever defends terrorism cannot call himself a Muslim.

«Osama Bin Laden, like fundamentalists who practice terrorism, is not a true Muslim. They manipulate the Koran for political ends. They manipulate religion, they do not represent believers of Islam,» Dr. Muhammad Sammak said.

Sammak, secretary general of the National Commission for Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Lebanon, addressed a congress on May 17, organized by (The Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies) (PISAI), focusing on the topic «The Muslim World After September 11.»

The PISAI, with headquarters in Rome, was founded in 1926 to perfect ecclesiastical and lay studies on the Arabic language and literature, as well as on the religion and institutions of Islam. The congress was sponsored by the U.S. Bradley Foundation (

«The atrocious crime of September 11 has been condemned as unjustified terrorism by many Muslim leaders, who have described it as inhuman and against Islam. This is why I think the U.S. position in regard to Islam must be revised,» the Lebanese professor explained.

Immediately «after September 11, the United States asked several Muslim countries to close down religious schools where the ´holy war´ was taught. Pakistan obeyed the U.S. In Somalia, the men of war said they agreed but then did nothing. In Sudan, they tried to have good relations with the U.S., but they did not touch the religious schools. In Egypt, the Minister of Education rejected the U.S. invitation because it endangered the sovereignty and religious tradition of the country,» Sammak continued.

According to the Lebanese expert, the problem is that the Americans «are working in the Middle East with the Cold War strategy.»

Sammak remarked that «the idea that there is no separation between the State and religion in Muslim countries is a simplification. True Islam is based on fraternity, respect for human rights, and God´s teachings.»

Moreover, «Osama Bin Laden has nothing to do with the Palestinian cause, which has lasted for 50 years. The terrorists are trying to manipulate the Palestinian cause to justify their actions. True Islam condemns the terrorists who are committing crimes against humanity,» Samba concluded emphatically.

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