On the evening of Friday, January 9, the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), in partnership with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC), hosted an educational community forum on how to address the issue of ISIS and its negative effects on American Muslims and the world community.
Nearly 150 attendees filled the main prayer hall of ISOC to learn and partake in the discussion.
Panelists included ISOC Religious Director Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, MPAC President Salaam Al-Marayati and ICOI Shaykha Muslema Purmul who presented their views on the origins, issues, and solutions to the "CRISIS of ISIS". The forum was moderated by Ustadha Lobna Mulla of ISOC.
Dr Muzammil Siddiqi described ISIS as a cult and an evil perversion of the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. Denouncing the ongoing brutality and ideology of ISIS, he emphasized that Muslims in America and around the world have an obligation to ensure that Muslims and others understand the true teachings of Islam.
Hussam Ayloush praised American imams and scholars for continuing to refute and challenge ISIS's deviant and destructive ideology.
Advocating a preventative and proactive approach, he encouraged youth to take advantage of the leadership training programs available to equip themselves to become advocates for justice here and abroad. Ayloush urged Muslims to work with their fellow Americans to pressure our government representatives to stop supporting international governments that engage in occupations, human rights violations and repression.
"We must refute ISIS' false claim to Islam and help bring freedom and justice around the world in order to remove the grievances that ISIS exploits.", said Ayloush.
"Islam stands for freedom.", said Salaam Al-Marayati. The root problem with (ISIS) is their ideology of compulsion which stems from some Muslim countries that practice this ideology." "We as American Muslims have the opportunity to declare freely and openly that we are Muslims because Islam stands for freedom".
Shaykha (scholar) Muslema Purmul explained the obligation the American Muslim community has to contribute to the accurate portrayal of Islam by leading through example in our daily interactions with others and become well integrated as a community to positively influence the public's perception of Islam and Muslims.
WATCH: SoCal Muslim Community Reacts to Paris Terror Attacks
CAIR-LA had co-sponsored a similar panel a few months back with MPAC and the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley (ICSGV) that was well-received.
SEE: Muslim Community Forum on the "CRISIS of ISIS" Gets Robust Response