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Muslim groups denounce beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff

Leading Muslim institutions denounced the killing of Steven Sotloff, the second US journalist to be executed by Islamic State militants and President Barrack Obama vowed to build a coalition to “degrade and destroy” the extremist group. 

“This is obviously a criminal act which we greatly denounce,” Maha Akeel of the Organization of the Islamic Conference told Al Arabiya News, voicing the same condemnation the group issued when IS released a video of the execution of US journalist James Foley. “They claim that they do their acts in the name of Islam but their doing has nothing to do with Islam,” Akeel said.

“We can’t call them an Islamic group, but a criminal one,” she explained, emphasizing Al-Azhar’s online campaign, which urges people and news outlets to stop calling the group Islamic. Al-Azhar is the top Islamic authority in Egypt and it is also highly revered by many Muslims worldwide. Former deputy imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour told Al Arabiya News that Sotloff’s killing was not only against humanity but “there is no religion that accepts the killing of a human soul.”

The largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the US, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: “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 IS terror group. The criminal actions of IS are antithetical to the faith of Islam.”

Obama reaffirmed that Washington would not be intimidated by IS militants. “Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served,” he said. — Al Arabiya News/Agencies

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