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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
Imam Shuaib-Ud Din says Utah's Muslims are taking a stand for peace.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Nora Abu-Dan, 11, wants peace in the world and feels that it's her duty as a Muslim to speak out against war and terrorism.

"You have to stand up," said Abu-Dan, a fifth-grader at Stansbury Elementary School. "Maybe one person can make a difference."

Islam means "peace," her father, Deeb Abu-Dan, said following a prayer service and sermon at West Valley's Khadeeja mosque on the Quran's call to treat prisoners of war "as if they are part of your family."

Both agreed a new global Internet petition, titled "Not in the Name of Islam," that condemns acts of terrorism sends the right message about their religion.

The petition by the Council on American-Islamic Relations was started in response to the beheading in Iraq of American civilian Nick Berg in retaliation for the treatment of Iraqis detained by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison.

The petition by the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group reads, in part: "No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam."

While no official tally of signatures was available Friday, Muslims from 45 countries had signed the petition since it started Thursday, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said the petition is a symbolic action to help dispel complaints her organization receives that Muslims don't speak out against terrorism.

"This is one way people will be able to see Muslims from around the world, not just in America, joining hands and condemning these types of acts," she said.

Donna Lee Bowen, professor of political science at Brigham Young University, said Muslims have been speaking out against terrorism locally but that their efforts aren't getting broad media coverage.

"What I've noticed, there is an enormous need to hear Muslims condemn terrorism," she said. "This has been impossible to do because Islam has no central hierarchy."

She said the vast majority of the world's more than 1 billion Muslims are "firmly against terrorism," but she said the actions of terrorists are puzzling to those who aren't familiar with Islam.

"Who are the members of these fringe groups claiming what they are doing is mainstream Islam, how do we know that it's not?" she said.

Imam Shuaib-Ud Din of the Khadeeja mosque said Utah's estimated 25,000 Muslims are speaking out through efforts such as a blood drive that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"I would disagree with the premise we have not made a stand, because we have," he said. "We don't have a religious hierarchy, no pope, to make a statement."

KSL Newsradio talk show host Doug Wright said many callers to his program want to know "where is that rallying point" against terrorism. He said the petition could help create that rallying point, and he praised the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates for condemning Berg's murder.

"I don't know what it will ultimately do," he said of the petition. "It appears to at least be an outlet for those who are concerned. It's a good first step."

The "Not in the Name of Islam" petition is on the CAIR Web site at www.cair-net.org.