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French Muslim leaders denounce Islamic State

The most prominent Muslim leaders in France have joined in an unprecedented condemnation of the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians.

In a “Paris Appeal,” issued on September 9 at the Grand Mosque in Paris, the French Islamic leaders “unambiguously denounce these terrorist acts, which are crimes against humanity, and solemnly declare that these groups, their supporters, and their recruits cannot lay claim to Islam.”

The Paris Appeal condemns the “barbarians” for their brutality, and insists that “their rash calls for jihad and their campaigns to indoctrine young people are not faithful to the teachings and values of Islam.”   »»»

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Muslim leaders in U.S. condemn ISIS

In uptown Charlotte (NC) today, the president of the Muslim American Society joined fellow Muslim leaders and called on local media outlets to highlight the differences between the Islamic faith and the extremists who carry out the ISIS agenda.

“No religion condones the murder of civilians, the beheading of religious scholars, or the desecration of houses of worship. We condemn the actions of ISIS,” said Osama Idlibi.    »»» WBTV

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Islamic State kills another US hostage–Steven Sotloff

An Islamic State video has appeared which purports to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist being held hostage by the militants.

Mr Sotloff, 31, disappeared in Syria in 2013. He appeared at the end of a video last month which showed fellow US journalist James Foley being killed.

A militant in the latest video also threatens to kill a British hostage.   »»» BBC News

The members of ISIS are heretics, renegades and blasphemers.

It is an important Islamic duty to treat prisoners of war kindly and gently, be hospitable to them, and provide them with food and clothing. They must never be subjected to ill-treatment or torture. The Qur’an says, that the believers give food out of love for Allah to the poor and the orphan and the captive (Al-Insan 76:8). Furthermore it is forbidden to take innocent non-combattants hostage since they are not responsible for the actions of others.

The Prophet gave this general order: “Be sure to treat captives kindly.” He is also reported to have said “Be kind to your prisoners, and let them have their afternoon rest, and provide them with water to drink.” After the Battle of Badr, the Prophet ordered that those unbelievers who were taken captive should be treated kindly. Complying with his order, the Companions of the Prophet gave the captives food before they themselves ate.

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British Muslim leaders issue fatwa AGAINST would-be jihadists

Muslim leaders have issued a fatwa condemning British jihadists.

The fatwa prohibits would-be jihadists from joining the “oppressive and tyrannical” Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria, the Sunday Times reported. It said the imams had ordered Muslims to oppose the promotion of the “poisonous ideology” of Isis in the UK.

Six senior Islamic scholars have endorsed the fatwa, the first of its kind issued in the UK, describing Britons allied to Islamic State cells as “heretics”.    »»» British Muslim leaders issue fatwa against would-be jihadists | UK news |

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The big players in the growth of Islamic fashion online

Islamic veiling is a global political issue and the debate tends to move in two different directions: it’s framed as either a matter of the freedom of female self-expression or as emblematic of gender inequality and suppression. Its role as a fashion statement is rarely discussed.

The biggest players in the development of Islamic fashion are young Muslim fashion bloggers. These young Muslim women, sharing ideas, styles and trends with one another, have become pseudo-celebrities within the blogging world.

Last year Vogue reported that demands for designer fashion in Middle Eastern and Islamic regions have grown in the last few decades. This boom has given rise to Muslim fashion designers who create clothing especially designed to cater to a market of fashion-loving modest women.

In 2007 a Chicago-based journalist, Miraiam Sobh, developed the first online entertainment site for Muslim women wanting to keep up with Western culture and fashion. The website, better known as HijabTrendz introduced fashion trends to Muslim women living in the United States. Many Muslim women have since followed suit by posting videos on YouTube, providing step-by-step tutorials and how-to guides on different ways to wear hijabs.   »»» The Conversation

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Religion is NOT the main motivator for ISIS

Like Al-Qaeda and other militants, ISIS offers a militant warped and distorted Salafi brande of Islamic ideology/religious rationale or rationalization to justify, recruit, legitimate and motivate many of its fighters. Much of what they do violates Islamic law, its unabashed acts of terrorism: slaughter of civilians, savage use of beheadings, killing of innocent Muslims and Christians. While there are similarities between ISIS and other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in their ideological worldview and tactics, there is also distinctive difference. ISIS seeks to create a state, to occupy and control areas, to govern, not just to dream of or speak of but to create and impose their version of a transnational caliphate, with its harsh version of law and order. At the same time, they are far more ruthless in driving out, suppressing and executing Shiah and Kurds, Sunni imams/religious leaders and others who disagree, as well as minorities such as Christians and Yazidis, demanding conversion to their warped and extraordinarily violent brand of Islam. Having populations forced to publicly pledge their allegiance (baya) to the caliphate in exchange for which they are offered security, a mafia like version of “protection” and social services.

Is religion (Islam) the primary driver of this so-called Islamic caliphate?

While religion/Islam, a particularly harsh and distorted version, does play a role to legitimate, recruit, and motivate, studies of most jihadists and movements, like ISIS, show that the primary drivers are to be found elsewhere. As in the recent past, so too today, this has remained true for Europeans and Americans who have joined ISIS.

Studies by the EC’s European Network of Experts on Violent Radicalization on radicalization in Europe as well as those by terrorism experts like Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer and the University of Chicago’s Robert Pape) on global terrorism and suicide bombing have found that in most cases religion is not the primary source of most extremist behavior. In many cases terrorists are neither particularly religiously literate nor observant. Drivers of radicalization include moral outrage, disaffection, peer pressure, the search for a new identity, and for a sense of meaning, purpose and belonging. For many it is the experience or perception of living in a ‘hostile’ society, disenfranchisement and heightened political consciousness, anti-imperialism and social justice, emancipation and the personal search to be a good Muslim or the headscarf as liberation, bringing together a constellation of narratives. The vast majority of the Muslim populations of Europe are also members of a visible ethnic minority. Their experiences are therefore likely to be shaped by experiences such as xenophobia, lower employment and educational levels and, more recently, Islamophobia.

Mehdi Hassan in a recent (Aug 21, 2014) Huffington Post blog post cited an MI5 briefing report on radicalization (2008), which noted, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practice their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could… be regarded as religious novices.” Analysts concluded that, “a well-established religious i∂dentity actually protects against violent radicalization.

Moreover, ISIS’s use of Islamic texts as well as its savage and disproportionate slaughter of military and civilians, among its many other policies, are CONTRARY to the prescriptions of Islamic law.   »»» ISIS: Informed Comment

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‘Muslims against ISIS’ gather in Michigan to pray for James Foley

Muslim clerics held a vigil in Dearborn, Michigan, Monday night to pray for the family of James Foley and condemn the Islamic State militant group that murdered him.

“I mean, it’s not just my country. I’m very worried about all the world. It makes me cry a lot, because I see, you know, innocent people [have] died. I have to raise my voice” said Sara Albusaid, who immigrated to Dearborn from Iraq and whose husband and son still reside in the troubled country.

Clerics told the gatherers that Muslims need to publicly stand against any group that commits violence in the name of Islam.

Islamic State fighters are “crazy criminals who are abusing our religion,” said Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, the Detroit Free Press reported. “You’re a bunch of gangsters … you’re not Islamic.”

The beheading of James Foley … is a clear violation of the holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad,” said Imam Mustapha Elturk, the paper reported. “ISIS neither represents Islam nor Muslims.”   »»» Washington Times

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Norwegian Muslims Demonstrate Against ‘Islamic State’

Norway’s prime minister and other politicians joined Muslim leaders and thousands of other people in a demonstration in Oslo against radical Islamists.

Monday’s rally was an initiative by young Norwegian Muslims who wanted to show a united front against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq and their sympathizers in Norway.

Mehtab Afshar, head of the Islamic Council in Norway, told the crowd: “They stand for terrorism, they stand for terror … and we condemn that in the strongest terms.”   »»» Rockford Register Star (U.S.)

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Islamic Authority Says Extremists are not ‘Islamic State’

Dar Al-Ifta, the top Islamic authority in Egypt, revered by many Muslims worldwide, launched an Internet-based campaign on Sunday, challenging an extremist group in Syria and Iraq by saying it should not be called an “Islamic State.”

The campaign by the Dar Al-Ifta, seen as one of the world’s foremost authorities advising Muslims on spiritual and life issues, adds to the war of words by Muslim leaders across the world targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which controls wide swaths of both countries. Its violent attacks, including mass shootings, the destruction of Shi’ite shrines, the targeting of minorities, and beheadings—including American journalist James Foley—have shocked Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, previously said the extremists violate all Islamic principles and laws and described the group as a danger to Islam as a whole.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also weighed in. On Sunday, speaking to editors of Egyptian newspapers, he said the extremist group is part of a plot aiming to “undermine Islam as a belief.”

He said the current religious discourse in the region only feeds “minds that believe that killing and bloodshed is the way to defend Islam,” in comments carried by MENA.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik, had also called the group Islam’s No. 1 enemy.

The world’s largest bloc of Islamic nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said Saturday that the actions of the group, including Foley’s beheading as well as the targeting of minorities, have nothing to do with the values of Islam.

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ISIS is a threat to all humanity

How can one define a phenomenon like ISIS that has made even Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and the Khomeinist gangs appear “moderate” in comparison?

The international community faced a similar question in the 18th century when pirates acted as a law unto themselves, ignoring even the most basic norms of human interaction. The conundrum was discussed in lengthy negotiations that led to the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). In order to define the lawless pirates, a new judicial concept was developed: crime against humanity. Individuals who committed that crime would be described as “enemies of mankind” or “hostis humani generis” in Latin. That meant that individuals and groups convicted of such a crime were no longer covered by any penal code or even the laws of war. They had set themselves outside humanity by behaving like wild beasts.

In the 18th century Britain used the concept to hunt down pirates across the globe, notably in the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, invoked the same principle to justify sending an expedition to wipe out pirates in Algiers. After the Second World War, the Allies used the same concept to put Nazi chiefs on trial in Nuremberg. For the past 10 years, the United Nations has referred to the same concept in a series of trials against the Khmer Rouge mass-killers in Cambodia.

ISIS represents a marriage of nihilism and crimes against humanity. Like the pirates of yesteryear it has attracted criminals from many different nationalities. In fact, the European Union estimates that 2,000 of ISIS’s 10,000 fighters are citizens of EU states. There are also Tajiks, Uzbeks, Pakistanis and Russians from Dagestan. Because ISIS does not want anything specific, there can be no negotiations with it. Because it recognizes no laws, not even the laws of Islam, there is no reason why it should be treated with judicial kid gloves.

ISIS is not an Iraqi or Syrian or Lebanese problem, but a problem for the human family as a whole. It is not the enemy of any particular religion, sect or government: it is an enemy of humanity and deserves to be treated as such.   »»» ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

In recent weeks large numbers of Muslim scholars have declared that the so-called “Muslims” of ISIS are committing one of the most serious crimes under Muslim law. Their activities of rape, pillage, brigandage, destruction, murder, forced conversion, civil disruption and terrorism are subsumed in Islamic law under at least three Arabic words: hibarah, fasad and irjaf. The Qur’an calls such behaviour “spreading mischief in the land” and “waging war against Allah and his Prophet”. ISIS is not really an Islamist group. It is an international association for psychopaths and sadists.

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