Why talk about ISIS and our communities?
- Stories of youth from the West and the US joining ISIS highlights how important it is for us to address this issue in our schools and mosques
- Estimated 10,000+ foreign fighters with ISIS, some from the West
History of the ISIS movement, how it started and it’s leadership
- former Bathists
- ignorant youth who have followed their drum-beat
Some of their crimes:
- Expelling Christians from Mosul, Iraq
- Destroying mosques and houses of worship
- Killing fellow Muslims
- Not to indulge in conspiracy theories to deny reality
- They are not fighting jihad and do not represent Islam
- Not a single scholar (Salafi or non-Salafi) supports them or has spoken in their favor
- Even to the extremists, this group is modern-day Khawarij, a classical extremist group, that our Prophet ﷺ spoke about in detail
- They can be confusing to an average Muslim because of their slogans
- They mostly consist of ignorant, energetic, young people
- Their ideologies can develop rapidly due to their explosive temperament and their over zealousness
- They are empty of emotions, thirsty for blood; the Quran does not go beyond their throats
- ISIS is not a khilafa
- It is not allowed to join them
- It is not allowed to help or support them, or to make du’a for their success or victory
- Who ever dies fighting on their side is not a martyr
- They must be opposed and stopped with force if required
May Allah guide us to the truth and protect us and our children from extremist ideologies.
We feel that the recent atrocities committed in the name of our faith by a group calling itself ISIS requires that we make our stand clearly known to our friends and neighbors.
First, ISIS’ expulsion of Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul is a reprehensible, vile act not allowed in our religion.
Second, ISIS’ indiscriminate killing, destruction of houses of worship, treatment of prisoners and women, and fanatic extremism has left us in shock and disgust. Such actions have nothing to do with Islam, whose principles call for tolerance, kindness, justice, and coexistence.
Third, ISIS is universally denounced by international and American Muslim organizations:
- The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries around the world, condemned ISIS’s persecution of Christians as “a crime that cannot be tolerated.”
- Al-Azhar, the rough equivalent of the Vatican in Egypt, declared ISIS “corrupt” and “a danger to Islam.”
- Turkey’s highest ranking cleric said that ISIS poses a threat that is “hugely damaging,” and “truly awful.”
- Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority said that terrorist groups like ISIS are the “number one enemy of Islam.”
- The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) stated, “The mind-numbing brutality of ISIS is in absolute opposition to the values of any faith.”
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) repeatedly condemned ISIS as “un-Islamic and morally repugnant.”
- The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said that ISIS’s actions “are to be denounced and are in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches.”
- Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) condemned ISIS and called for a “stand against extremism.”
[The condemnations and denouncements are fully documented at: http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american-muslim-organizations-condemn-isis-murder-of-journalist-james-foley/0020275]
Forth, we believe in taking an open approach against extremism. Consequently, I, as the Resident Scholar, have addressed our youth at the Sunday School about extremism in general and ISIS in particular. I have also delivered the same message to our congregation in a recent sermon.
Fifth, based on what has proceeded, we hope that our faith will not be judged by the actions of a fanatic group and religion will not be seen as the cause, but in the context of a complex geopolitical reality.
Lastly, we request that you spread this message to your congregation and friends in a way you deem appropriate.
Our prayers are with all the oppressed and we sincerely hope for peace and stability in the region.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Imam Kamil Mufti
I received an unprecedented positive feedback, even cards of thank you and appreciation.
“Thank you for this letter. I know that there is agreement among people of all faiths here and across the world: ISIS does not represent genuine religious values or genuine human values. It is certainly worthwhile to say this.” – Jim Lewis, US Attorney General
“Thank you for the letter. It was very thoughtful and I believe it will be helpful for many to read and understand. Like always there will still be many who are close-minded and have already made judgments upon all Muslims. But for the majority of sincere and balanced Christians this will be helpful. I believe that most Americans and Christians in particular do not expect #muslimapologies but just want to be assured that groups like ISIS are in fact outside the mainstream. This is clear to you and a majority of Muslims, but it is not clear to most Christians and Americans in general. Letters such as this can go a long way in breaking down stereotypes…” – Pastor Jim Powell, Richwoods Church
“Your letter was very helpful and well received…Your letter is an important educational step in helping them understand the Islamic principles that “call for tolerance, kindness, justice, and coexistence” and an important step to building trust. Thank you for reaching out, educating your Christian neighbors and most importantly for taking a clear stand against the reprehensible acts of ISIS… One voice said, ‘It is disgraceful that big media doesn’t explain that so many of these Islamic organizations have denounced ISIS!’” – Rev. Nina Merkle Nestlerode, Canton First Christian Church
“I share this with you because of the nature of the letter and the need for good and healthy education regarding ISIS and the myths and media hype surrounding it.” – Carole Hoke, President, Central IL Interfaith Alliance
“Thank you for this excellent statement…I only regret that there are elements in my community who are all too dominated by ignorance such that clarification is necessary.” – Bill Wright, Associate Professor of Religion, Eureka College
“Thanks so much for your thoughtful and powerful letter…This is a very good thing to do and I applaud your leadership.” – Rev. Michael Brown, UU Church
“Thanks for this…I particularly like the point of judging a religion out of context. Well said.” – Dave Weiman, Past President, Central IL Interfaith Alliance
“…I pray it will lead to a deeper understanding of the true nature and beauty of Islam, and to opportunities for interfaith reconciliation and peace.” – Bruce Fowlkes, Pastor Eureka College
“I had forwarded your communication to one of my friends, ***name removed***, who lives in ***name removed***. He has forwarded it to all his contacts. Inshallah, your initiative will have a multiplying effect and serve as a call to action for the Muslim communities across North America.” – Zameer Khan, former IFP shura member, Caterpillar executive
ISIS and Our Communities Feature Image Credit: Jose Javier Martin Espartosa