“He said Islamic law forbids attacking civilians, executing unarmed captives and other acts. ‘They are using the name of the faith in vain. It’s a desecration.'” How did this misunderstanding come about? The caliph of the Islamic State has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Did he not learn that Islamic law forbids attacking civilians and killing unarmed captives? Or does he have a different perspective on these issues?
For there are indeed hadiths in which Muhammad forbids killing women and children, the Qur’an also allows for the laying aside of moral principles for purposes of revenge: “The prohibited month for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (2:194)
And Allah commands Muslims to retaliate in the same way they were attacked — so the jihad propaganda about Americans (and Israelis) attacking civilians justifies attacks in kind: “If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient.” (16:126)
It would be refreshing if Safdar Khwaja would address these points and explain why he still thinks the Islamic State is transgressing against Islam. But if he sees this at all, he will just call me an Islamophobe. Unfortunately, that won’t stop the next U.S. Muslim from joining the Islamic State.
“American Muslims denounce Islamic State’s extreme tactics,” by Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 9, 2014:
PITTSBURGH – The insurgent group Islamic State has exploded into headlines in recent months, sweeping through much of Northern Iraq, capturing the ancient strategic hub of Mosul, terrorizing religious minorities, crucifying opponents and posting online videos of the beheading of captive American journalists.
The attacks, evolved over years of shifting militant alliances in the region and are rooted in a severe interpretation of Islam that views the world in stark terms of good and evil, experts say.
While the U.S. considers how to respond to the group strategically, American Muslim leaders are taking pains to denounce the group and its actions as beyond the pale of not just mainstream Islam but Islam itself.
“These are absolutely terrible things, unspeakable,” said Safdar Khwaja, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Pittsburgh chapter.
He said Islamic law forbids attacking civilians, executing unarmed captives and other acts. “They are using the name of the faith in vain. It’s a desecration.”
He called the group’s proclamation of a caliphate spanning its holdings in Iraq and Syria – an ancient Islamic concept of a state ruled by a caliph, seen as God’s representative on earth – “a marketing ploy trying to capture the imagination of some impressionable people.”
National Islamic organizations have repeatedly denounced the terrorist tactics of the group, and local Muslims are working to warn their young people against the appeals of groups such as Islamic State to come fight alongside them.
About 3,000 Westerners are among more than 12,000 foreign fighters who have gone to Syria, many ending up in extremist groups such as Islamic State, according to a report by the Soufan Group, a security intelligence consulting group based in New York. That has led to fears of radicalized fighters returning home with terrorist ambitions.
“So we have to be on the watch,” Khwaja said. The local Muslim community is keeping tabs on its young people’s travels and would cooperate if an investigation is warranted, he said.
According to researchers, Islamic State traces its spiritual roots to a severe form of Islam that emerged in modern Arabia and that views itself as going back to the roots of the faith, discarding centuries of tradition, flexible legal precedents and devotion to saints and mystical prayer, said Islamic scholar Hasan Azad, who has a master’s degree in Islamic Societies and Cultures from the University of London.
This movement, Wahhabism, isn’t inherently violent, but its mindset, of sharply dividing like-minded Muslims from all others, is “very much how (Islamic State) is viewing the world,” said Azad, a doctoral candidate in religion at Columbia University, with a focus on Islamic studies.
The end result, “justifying bloodthirsty actions by religion,” represents a “fallen Islam,” he said. “It’s packaged as Islam, but it’s not.”…