ISNA Reiterates Stand Against Nuclear Weapons

On Tuesday, September 16, Imam Saffet Catovic, an environmental activist, ISNA Green Initiative Member, and former Bosnian diplomat offered remarks on behalf of the Islamic Society of North America at a multi-country sponsored event, “To Safeguard Future Generations – Multi-faith Responses to the Threat of Nuclear Weapons. The program was organized by the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations and the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security (NGOCDPS), and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Nigeria, Thailand and South Africa to the UN.

Imam Catovic cited former IOICA National Director (and current ISNA President) Dr. Sayyid Syeed’s support for the 1999 Parliament of World’s Religions Moral Call to Eliminate the Threat of Nuclear Weapons, which say, “The threat posed to humanity and all other forms of life by the sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons presents an unacceptable risk for this and future generations. This unacceptable risk presents a moral imperative for the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

During his remarks, Imam Catovic also cited Islamic teachings supporting the stance on nuclear weapons. Referencing a 2005 opinion of Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi and Dr. Jamal Badawi, members of the Fiqh Council of North America’s Council of Islamic Jurists, Catovic repeated their conclusion that “it is haram to deploy nuclear weapons. The shariah of Allah could never approve such weapons. According to the principles of Islamic law, there should instead be a universal ban on their development and possession. No criteria exist that
allows some states to maintain nuclear weapons while others are denied them.”

Referencing maqasid al-shariah, or the goals/purposes of Islamic canonical law, both scholars said that among other reasons, nuclear weapons:
represent a serious threat to peace
are brutal and merciless
do not differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, and, therefore, cannot be used as a means of legitimate self-defense

Finally, Imam Catovic ended his remarks with the environmental costs of developing and deploying nuclear weapons, with damage harming many future generations that had no direct relationship to the conflict for which the weapons would have been used.

ISNA has been involved with anti-nuclear weapons discussion for nearly two decades. You can find more information about nuclear weapons and other policy issues on our interfaith advocacy website: advocacy.isna.net.