Standing up to ISIS, Muslim scholars make a stand

Muslim scholars have challenged the rantings of ISIS, probably marking them for execution should ISIS gain more control.

Nonetheless at last some Islamic moderates are speaking out.

VICE reports:

More than a hundred Muslim scholars and leaders from around the world released an open letter addressed to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Wednesday, telling the self-proclaimed caliph, in no uncertain terms, that the group’s use of Islamic scripture is illegitimate and perverse.

The document, which was issued in Arabic and English on the website Letter to Baghdadi and is embedded below, begins with a list of practices employed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) that its authors say are explicitly forbidden by Islam. They include torture, slavery, forced conversions, the denial of rights for women and children, and the killing of innocents.

The letter emphasizes that Baghdadi’s claims to a caliphate spanning eastern Syria and western Iraq are void.  

“Who gave you authority over the ummah [Muslim people]?” the letter asks. “Was it your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion and a half Muslims. This attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim.’ ”

The Islamic State’s call to jihad is also impermissible.

“You have killed many innocents who were neither combatants nor armed, just because they disagree with your opinion,” the letter says, addressing Baghdadi and his followers directly. “There is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions.”

“Jihad is a noble concept in Islam,” Nihad Awad, national director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told VICE News shortly after the letter’s release. “It is the right to defend oneself and one’s country. But people cannot take it into their own hands. As an act of aggression, it is a violation.”

As for the Islamic State’s conduct in war, the letter notes that Islamic law forbids the killing of prisoners.

“Yet you have killed many prisoners,” it states, “including the 1700 captives at Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June, 2014; the 200 captives at the Sha’er gas field in July, 2014; the 700 captives of the Sha’etat tribe in Deir el-Zor (600 of whom were unarmed civilians); the 250 captives at the Tabqah air base in Al-Raqqah in August, 2014; Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and many untold others whom God knows. These are heinous war crimes.”

“Referring to members of ISIS as jihadists defeats the purpose, it makes them legitimate,” Awad added. “They claim to be jihadists but they are not. I urge everyone not to refer to them as jihadists.”

Once they start fighting amongst themselves then you know their alleged legitimacy is over.

Having more than 100 scholars destroy your arguments means that ISIS can measure their effectiveness in days or weeks not months or years.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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