American Muslim groups denounced the New Year's terror attacks in Egypt and Nigeria that killed and injured dozens of people as "barbaric" and "heinous" while offering prayers to the victims and their families.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), one of the United States' largest Muslim organizations, condemned the attacks and called on officials in Egypt and Nigeria to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"ISNA condemns any and all acts of violence against innocent civilians," said ISNA's president, Imam Mohamed Magid. "The attacks in Egypt and Nigeria are unacceptable, and ISNA urges the Egyptian and Nigerian governments to take all measures to prosecute the individuals responsible for these heinous crimes."
A terror attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed 21 people and wounded dozens more, as worshippers attended a mass marking the New Year. In Abuja, Nigeria, an attack near an army barracks took the lives of up to 20 Muslims and Christians and wounded many more.
ISNA said in its press release that such violence "requires us to double our efforts in promoting religious harmony and the right of people to worship free from fear and violence everywhere in the world."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, echoed ISNA's condemnation of the attacks. In a media statement, CAIR repudiated the "apparent motive" of the attackers, to harm relations between Muslims and Christians.
"We offer sincere condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured and call on authorities in both nations to bring the perpetrators to justice," said the CAIR statement, adding that the best response to these "cowardly acts" is to work harder at building relations between people of different faiths.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization that encourages American Muslims to participate in civic life, issued a statement saying that it "mourns the loss of Christian lives" from the terror attack in Egypt.
"We as Muslim Americans are horrified, along with Christians and all people of faith" about "this atrocious act," said MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati. "Whoever committed this evil act, especially during a religious service, can only be described as a heinous criminal."
Al-Marayati's group also pledged to work with America's Coptic Christian community.
"MPAC will reach out to Coptic Christian leaders in the U.S. to mourn together, offer any assistance needed at this perilous time, and work together for greater protection and harmony between Muslims and Christian minorities abroad," the MPAC statement said.
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), which represents more than 400,000 Muslims in the Chicago region, reached out to the Coptic Christian community in the wake of the attack in Egypt.
"We stand in support of the Coptic Christian community in Egypt and our neighbors of the Coptic faith in Chicago," said CIOGC chairman Zaher Sahloul. "We denounce this terrorist act and all acts of heinous violence that target innocent civilians, especially in houses of worship. Muslims and all faith groups are united in condemning such senseless crimes."
See the websites of the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago for the full texts of their respective announcements.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)