The chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission has sent an open letter to fellow members of the Muslim community in Britain exhorting them to adopt a principled and clear stance on the extremist group ISIS.
The letter is intended to match the public condemnation of the group by Muslim groups with an intra-community dialogue that seeks to counter the poisonous narrative of ISIS by presenting alternative visions of an Islamicate future. These visions, warns the letter, must be consistent with the aims and precepts of Islam and not fall into the moral black hole whereby the ends justify the means.
Rather than being restricted to reactions against individual atrocities the community’s condemnation of ISIS must be directed at what the group represents as a whole, and rooted in the religious duty to ‘enjoin good and forbid evil’. The community’s stand should be a principled one and not one based on political expedience. We must be clear that ISIS, or Daesh as it is known in the Middle East, is not the result of a corrupted form of Islam but the realisation of contemporary Western forms of chauvinism abusing the name of Islam.
The dialogue is also essential to fill the vacuum that has been created by the community’s failure to collectively address the ISIS problem, a vacuum that has resulted in many young and impressionable people looking to the extremist group as an answer to Middle Eastern despots as well as western aggression and imperialism.
The rise of ISIS has also contributed to an increase in sectarianism in the Muslim world which is alien to the Islamic imperative for Muslims to keep their mutual relations fraternal. The source of much of this sectarianism has taken the form of ever increasingly chauvinistic ‘interpretations’ of the Deen promulgated by extremists and their political supporters. The letter states that Muslims everywhere must be accountable to each other for the comments made and the stands taken.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The Mulsim community has to rise up to its responsibility of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil exposing not just barbaric acts of groups like Daesh but the dangerous unIslamic ideology that inspires them. At the same time it mustn’t allow itself to be bullied by the western media into issuing condemnations that only serve an interventionist agenda and seek to tar all Muslims with the “guilt by association” brush.”
Notes to editors:
A copy of the open letter can be found here: http://ihrc.org.uk/news/comment/11273-open-letter-to-the-muslim-community-in-the-uk
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222