This billboard is in St. Louis, not Raqqa, so obviously the Islamic State isn’t going to see it unless it shows up on their Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. Even if it does, the target audience is not ISIS at all, but non-Muslims; if the goal really were to insult the Islamic State to its face, the billboards would indeed be going up in some other Islamic State stronghold, and would be in Arabic.
The goal of this billboard is to reassure non-Muslims that Muslims really do oppose the Islamic State and its actions; this message is severely undercut by the fact Muslims in the St. Louis area do not have any programs in mosques or Islamic schools to teach young Muslims why they should reject the understanding of Islam taught by the Islamic State; with the Islamic State continuing to recruit young Muslims from the U.S., that is a grave and telling omission.
Also, the Qur’an doesn’t say “life is sacred” at 5:32 or anywhere else. This is what 5:32 actually says: “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.”
There is less to this than Western leaders and Islamic apologists claim.
First, note that it is not a general prohibition of killing — there are big exceptions for those who kill “for a soul or for corruption in the land.” Second, this is not a general command, but one only for the Children of Israel. Third, “many of them, after that … were transgressors” — so all it is really saying is that Allah gave a command to the Children of Israel and they transgressed against it.
Also, it is followed by 5:33, which specifies the punishment for the corruption and transgressions of the Children of Israel: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
Thus this passage is explaining what must be done with Jews who reject Muhammad, not dictating lofty moral principles. Ibn Warraq sums it up: “The supposedly noble sentiments are in fact a warning to Jews. ‘Behave, or else’ is the message. Far from abjuring violence, these verses aggressively point out that anyone opposing the Prophet will be killed, crucified, mutilated, and banished!”
“Life is sacred” indeed.
“St. Louis-area Muslims post ‘HEY ISIS, YOU SUCK’ billboard,” by Kristen Taketa, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 5, 2016 (thanks to P.B.):
St. Louis Muslims are assuring people, in case they’re still unclear: Muslims are against ISIS as much as anybody else.
A new billboard on Manchester Road near Weidman Road reads, “HEY ISIS, YOU SUCK!!! From: #ActualMuslims.”
“We as a community are trying to get the word out, you know, that we are as much affected by this ISIS issue,” said Tariq Malik, a Chesterfield resident who helped organize the effort behind billboard. “We need to let people know that we are much against ISIS as anyone else, if not more.”
Billboards like this one are popping up across the country. The campaign started in Chicago with a nonprofit called Sound Vision Foundation and has spread to cities like Miami and Phoenix.
Malik, 60, said Muslims are trying to stop people from conflating the terrorist group with Islam. The billboard quotes the Quran, Islam’s holy book, where it says: “Life is sacred.” Malik said he and his peers also want to halt a perception that Muslims aren’t speaking up enough against ISIS.
“These acts are being done in the name of religion, which really has nothing to do with the religion,” Malik said, speaking of terrorism. “It just has to do with radical people taking on their own agenda and hijacking the name of Islam.”…